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 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

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.

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



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.

 boudoir, intimate portraits

All images, hair and makeup by me.

xo, Melissa

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.

 

 

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 www.spotify.com.

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!

xo,
Melissa

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!

Xo,
Melissa

all photos by Melissa Hoffmann

How I Became A Professional Makeup & Hair Artist

I haven’t always been a professional makeup and hair artist. In fact, I’ve only been working professionally for 6 years. You might be surprised to hear this, and wonder what I did before my career in beauty started. I do get asked a lot about how I got started and what my story is. So I thought I would share it with you, in case you’re curious. Or in case you’re feeling restless in your career and wanting some inspiration for a change. Because if this is the case I know how you feel!

When you’re young, adults are always asking you what you want to do when you grow up. I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of asking kids I’ve been around this same question because their responses are so cute. But I have a strong memory of my grandma asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I gave her several answers: an artist, a hairstylist, a teacher, a writer, a counselor and a fashion designer. And I think I may have even thrown in doctor because adults always love to hear that. It’s interesting that in my career today I get to include a little of everything I wanted to do as a kid in what I do.

I’ve always loved makeup and hair. When I was young I used to play dress up and give makeovers to my friends and myself. My mom has always done her makeup, and was my first inspiration to playing with makeup. I had my own play makeup and chest of dress up clothes that I would play with daily. And one of my favorite toys was a Barbie head that I taught myself how to braid on.

When I was in 7th grade, my mom took me to the Clinique makeup counter to learn how to apply makeup and bought me my first “quality” makeup to use. Before that, I was obsessed with teal mascara and shadow, and frosty pink lipgloss, courtesy of Wet n’ Wild cosmetics and used to experiment with some crazy looks.

In college, I decided I wanted to be a psychologist. I still loved beauty, but thought I needed to do something more academic or “responsible”. Actually I had no idea that a career in makeup existed outside of the makeup counter or high fashion shoots in New York. But I knew I wanted to serve people, and help them feel good about themselves and their lives.

When I graduated from college, I tried a couple different jobs that fit in the field of psychology: a group home counselor, a group home teacher, and finally, a high school Special Education teacher. None of them felt like a good fit, were extremely stressful, and paid a shitty wage. I decided the most important thing in a job was money, so I set out to find a job that paid well. And was introduced to the world of pharmaceutical sales.

When I got my first sales job, I thought I had hit the jackpot: great salary and commission, travel, company car, expense account, and no office to sit in all day. But after 6 years of the high stress, controlling bosses, unrealistic expectations with sales goals and doctor's office visits, and feeling like I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, I knew I needed to make some changes. I wanted to do something I loved, and could support myself on. I wanted to do something that was meaningful, that made me feel like I was making a difference in someone's life.

For some reason, I kept going back to what I loved as a kid. And makeup and hair kept coming up as the answer.

And then I had a clear sign from the universe. While in Vegas at a company meeting, we were walking through the hotel and saw a fashion photo shoot in progress. I watched the makeup artist touching up the model and it clicked: that’s what I want to do. I remember telling this to my friend and she was like, YES!

So I started making my plan to make this a reality. The short version is I hustled my butt off. I researched everything I could find on how to become a makeup artist. I reached out to other artists to find how they got started. I went to beauty school at night to become an esthetician. And I spent weekends working for free, building my portfolio with other creatives to try to attract paying clients. My first 2 years in business were mostly working for free or for very little pay to build up my portfolio and gain experience. I spent most of everything I earned (and then some) on my makeup and hair kit, and classes to learn new techniques and grow my business.

And it finally paid off. At year 4 I was a full-time artist, with my sole income being my beauty business. I finally feel like an established artist.

It’s taken a long time to get here, and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve learned so much on being a creative entrepreneur, the power of community, and making my own path. I’ve worked with some amazing creative partners, and had wonderful clients, and even though I sometimes miss the steady paycheck and benefits, I’m glad that I followed my heart and went after my dreams. I still don't have everything figured out, but I feel much more secure in my business than I did 3 years ago.

And even though I love my job, I still feel there’s more for me to explore, and more for me to do. (More on that in a future post!) But I’m happy to be a working artist and making a living being a creative.

I’d love to hear from you now. Have you left behind a steady paycheck to follow your dreams? Or are you longing to leave your current job to pursue your passion? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

Stay tuned for my next post on the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this journey.

Are you following me on Instagram? I post a lot of behind the scenes and photos from my life as a creative entrepreneur.

Xo,
Melissa