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.



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.



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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 maternity boudoir
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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.



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. 


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.



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.

 boudoir, intimate portraits

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!



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.



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.

Love Your Breasts

If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw I posted a couple photos of my shoot with Sarah Jenks for a collaboration with True & Co bras. Sarah had just written a beautiful post about the relationship she has had with her breasts, and it made me think about my own relationship with my breasts and my body. (You can read Sarah’s post HERE.)

From high school and on, I always felt like I was fat and needed to be on a diet. My weight has fluctuated up and down for years, and I’ve yo-yo’ed from being on ridiculous diets to eating really unhealthy and binge drinking. The times when I felt like I was my “ideal weight”, I got there through extreme exercising, under-eating, and diet pills. When I was in my 20s, Hydroxycut and ephedra were my best friends. When I was in my 30s, I was in the gym 6 days and week and binge drinking and eating late night fried foods all weekend. And then I would feel terrible about myself for eating so bad. Needless to say, I wasn’t very healthy, and I still found things to pick apart about myself and my body.

After a few years of starving myself and taking too many diet pills, I swung the other way and went back to partying, eating fatty foods, and not exercising very much. Since then, my weight pendulum continued to swing back and forth for years. And as I continued to treat my body terribly, I was always telling her what was wrong with her and needed to be fixed. I hated my thighs, thought my breasts were too small and then too big, my stomach wasn’t flat enough, my butt too big...and the list went on. No matter how I looked, I always thought I could look better.

It took me years to be at peace with my body. And it started with meeting and working with Sarah Jenks though her Live More Weigh Less program. I learned to be kind to my body, to tell her she’s beautiful, and to feed her with healthy foods. I learned to love my body and my boobs at the size they are now, and not obsess over the size I wish they were.

When Sarah asked me to photograph her in her home, wearing her favorite True & Co bras to celebrate her breasts and her body, I was so excited. To do a shoot that was all about being comfortable in your own skin is always inspiring to me. And I love that it shows that wearing a bra that fits you and makes you feel like you look good gives you an extra boost of confidence to love yourself even more.

So here are some of my favorites from our shoot together. I hope they inspire you to celebrate your body in the size she is now, and treat her to some pretty and comfortable lingerie.

Hair, makeup and photos by me. Model- Sarah Jenks. Bras by True & Co. 




From Darkness to Light- My Self Portrait Series

Like many women, ever since I was young I struggled with feeling pretty or confident in myself. I would often look in the mirror and think of all the things I wanted to change. I would say things to myself like, "when my teeth are straight and perfect, when my thighs aren’t so big, when my boobs are bigger, when my hair is longer, then I’ll be pretty".

But even after the braces came off, my boobs grew, and I was at my thinnest weight, I would find other things to criticize about myself. I was never happy with who I was and what I looked like.

After a LOT of personal work, coaching, and changing the way I view my body, I’m in a better relationship with myself.

But these negative thoughts still enter my mind at times. Sometimes it’s after I see a woman who is super successful in her business and I feel frustrated that I’m not at the level that I want to be. Sometimes it’s when I’m scrolling through Instagram and see these young, gorgeous bloggers who look so fabulous in their photos and I think, I’m not as pretty or as young as her. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others when you’re looking at their pretty, shiny lives on social media. And sometimes the fear creeps in, that I won't be good at my art, or successful in my business.

During these times I remind myself that I’m on my own journey to happiness, and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Even though I get frustrated that I’m not making the amount of money I used to at my soul sucking corporate job, or that it feels like I’m starting over again in my career as I’m transitioning to photography, I know that this is my path to creating the success and life that I want. Even when times are tough and I feel swallowed up by the darkness, I know the light is coming.

One of the ways I’ve been working through the doubts and negative thoughts about myself and my life was to start a Self Portrait project. It was my way to challenge myself to get comfortable being in front of the camera, and find beauty and peace in photos of me. And it’s also been a way to express my feelings and share a piece of myself.

This self portrait series I’m sharing with you today represents the last 6 months of my life. I wanted to show some of the chaos I’ve felt, and how the dark times that I was feeling stuck in finally gave way to light.

These self portraits are part of my journey and expression, kind of like a visual journal. As I do more, I’ll continue to share with you.

I've been feeling so much more positive about the future, and more confident in myself as an artist and a woman. I feel excited now about where I'm going, and the life I'm creating for myself.

Thank you for witnessing my journey.

I’d love to hear from you now. How do you get rid of negative thoughts and self doubts? And how do you express yourself and your feelings as a way to share your vulnerability with others? Leave me a comment below.



A Gift of Self Love

When I first started my journey as a photographer, I knew I wanted to focus on doing portraits of women. I loved doing fun, lifestyle type photos, but what really moved my soul was boudoir and intimate portraits of women. As a hair and makeup artist, I had seen the transformation happen during these shoots when the woman looked at herself in the mirror after her hair and makeup were complete, and also in the final images. The emotion and soul that intimate portraits can show is so beautiful and life changing.

As I was starting to build my portfolio, I began to think of inspiring women I knew that I wanted to photograph. One woman stood out in particular for me, my good friend Michelle Long of Bloom Retreat. Michelle is a beautiful woman who is not only an amazing business woman, but she owns a wonderful wholeness center where women can connect with themselves, their bodies and others in sisterhood. She is a firm believer in loving and taking good care of yourself, and finding a place where you can fully be yourself and have a tribe of supportive women.

Michelle’s mission is so similar to mine, and I knew she’d be the perfect woman to do this shoot with. Since Michelle is a yoga teacher, has done so much inner work, and is so naturally beautiful, I was sure that this would be an easy yes for her. And thankfully, it was a yes. But I was surprised to hear that she had some fears about doing the shoot.

She expressed to me how she wasn’t feeling confident in her body, and how she was feeling like her weight wasn’t where she would like it to be. She was nervous about being naked in the shoot and about her body being seen in the photos.

I realized that we all have the same fears, no matter the shape of our body, our size, or how confident we seem on the outside. It made me feel a little better about my own fears, but also sad because I hear these same words from most of the women I work with.

But despite her fears, she still said yes to doing something that felt bold for her. She said yes to doing something that was just for herself, not her husband.

When I sent her the photos I was nervous if she would like them. I was so proud of how fully and open she had showed up for the shoot, and thought the photos showed that vulnerable part of herself.

It made me so happy to hear that she loved them. That she cried when she saw them, and that she saw the woman she was striving to be, and the one she wanted her daughter to see. She saw strength, power, trust, softness, beauty, femininity, acceptance, and fierce self-love.

I want this for you. I want you to see the woman you really are. The woman who is strong and powerful, soft and feminine, beautiful, accepting of herself, and loves herself fiercely.

So on this Valentine’s Day, or just any day going forward, I want you to say yes to yourself. Yes to loving yourself. Yes to doing something bold. Yes to putting yourself first. And yes to letting that beautiful soul inside you express herself and be seen.

I want to be a part of that experience with you. If what you desire is to be fully expressed and seen, then I invite you to sign up for a boudoir shoot with me. Contact me HERE for a complimentary call to talk about how we can create this life changing experience together.

I can’t wait to show you how beautiful you are.


p.s. If you want to read more about Michelle's experience with the boudoir shoot, you can read her beautiful post here

Photos, hair & makeup by Melissa Hoffmann

My 2017 Promise to You!

I've never really been into New Year's Resolutions. I mean, how many times have you set up a list of all these things you resolve to change/do/not do in the new year, and they last about 1 week? And then you're back to your old habits. That's me every year.

One thing I do know though, is I'm hopelessly devoted to serving you this next year.

I've been listening closely to you and my wonderful clients that I serve, and the number one request I get is to help women look and feel like the best versions of themselves.

That's why I declare 2017 to be the year of falling in love with yourself.

That's right! I'm on a one woman mission to help you rediscover what a fabulous and beautiful woman you are, as you are right now. Not minus 10 lbs later, when you make more money, when you have a love partner in your life, when you finally start your own business... but now!

Here's some of the hot stuff you can expect from me in 2017.
- Boudoir and empowering photo shoots with me
- Beautiful photos and inspirational stories about the women I work with
- Tips and ideas on how you can improve your self care and look as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside
- Tips on how to prepare and have the best photoshoot experience, whether it's with me or someone else
- A new self reflection visual project I'm working on. The details are a secret right now but I'll be sharing more soon!

I know in 2016 I haven't been keeping up with my weekly letters to you, and I've come to realize that weekly postings are hard for me. So I'm going to be posting here once a month. (There might be extra love notes to send you in the month though.)

In addition to the hot stuff I just mentioned? You can also expect lots of fun, helpful surprises from me. Kinda like this:

A playlist I created on Spotify to help you reconnect to your sexy, feminine side. Listen to you it when you're getting ready for work, a date, or just when you need a reminder of how fabulous you are. You can add it to your Spotify account here: Feelin' Myself. And if you don't have a Spotify account, you can set one up for free! Just go to

I'd love to know YOUR big plans for 2017. Tell me in the comments below.  "In 2017, I am totally committed to _____________ and I'm SO excited about __________."  

I can't wait to hear what gets your heart pumped for next year! Can't wait to rock & roll with you.

Here's to a very Happy New Year!


photo by Majesta Patterson

photo by Majesta Patterson

The Evolution of My Business

7 years ago I was living life as a pharmaceutical sales rep. I had a job that paid well, with great benefits and perks. But I was miserable in it. I was constantly stressed out, depressed, bored and unfulfilled. I had this sense that I was a creative person, and I felt like there was no room for creativity in my current career (and trying to figure out how to best put my drug’s stickers on treats was not my idea of creativity). 

I decided I wanted to be a makeup artist, and set about learning everything I could about it. And 7 years later, here I am. I’m living a creative life, am able to pay my bills, and I have worked with hundreds of inspiring women. I finally feel like I’m making a difference in someone’s life. I may not be curing cancer, but I get to help women feel beautiful, which is really important to me. 

Last year I started to feel a little unsettled. Like something was missing. And even though I still loved what I was doing, I felt like I needed a new challenge. I started to pay attention on my shoots to what was happening in front of the camera, rather than how my work looked. I was getting ideas of what I would like to see the woman do, or wear, or how she could look. I was feeling a pull to be the one that was creating this special experience for the woman, rather than just the one getting her glamorous for it. I realized that I wanted to be a photographer.

And as I did with my previous desire to be a makeup artist, I started my journey to learn everything I could to be a photographer. I want to create transformational portraits and experiences for women. I want to help women see how beautiful they are, and to create a way for them to express who they truly are.

I spent the last year honing my technical skills, learning how to create the art I want to share with the world, and building my portfolio. And now I’m excited to launch my photography services!

As a hair and makeup artist, I have seen the power of professional photo shoots time and time again. I’ve seen regular women completely transform because of the work that I do, and the experience of being seen in front of the camera. They become who they really are because they are putting themselves in front of the spotlight.

And I’m so excited to be able to offer that transformation to you.

photo by me taken at The Blissful Maven workshop

photo by me taken at The Blissful Maven workshop

I want you to get that doing a professional photo shoot is the medicine you’ve been missing in your relationship, in your sex life, in how you mother yourself, and how you feel about yourself as a professional. I know you want to feel beautiful, confident and self-expressed, and like you’re on top of the world.

Maybe you’re going to acupuncture, yoga, getting massages, trying to spend time on yourself, but nothing is giving you that kick in the pants that you feel like you need to feel confident and beautiful in your own skin. This is what you’ve been missing. It’s one day, it’s being immersed in your own beauty. It’s the most effective jumpstart to confidence that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve witnessed it hundreds of times.

I know it may feel selfish to spend money on a photo shoot. I know you’re not used to spending a lot of money on yourself.  Think about how much money you spend on going to yoga, or the latest cleanse, or on your kids, or therapy. Your beauty and your self expression is just as important as those other things. In fact, I believe it’s more important. I want to take a stand for you being fully expressed in the world. And trust me, you’re worth it!

And because I want this to be a truly amazing experience for you, and so much more than a photo shoot, I’ve enrolled in a coach training program to eventually offer coaching sessions alongside my photography services, which I’ll be launching next year.

I have 2 different photo shoot options for you to choose.

One is a 2 hour photo shoot, with hair, makeup and styling by me.

Or you can choose to do a full day experience with me if you want to explore several looks and expressions of yourself.

If you’d like to learn more about doing a photo shoot with me, contact me here to set up a time to chat. I'M DYING TO KNOW MORE!

I can’t wait to show you how beautiful you are!


all photos by Melissa Hoffmann