About Melanie

Melanie is a stylist who adores bold prints, local farmers markets, and getting down to 90's music.  Her mission is to make women feel confident through their clothes.  This native New Yorker currently resides in the Bay Area with her fantastic husband, adorable, chubby baby and her impossibly cute puppy.  

Wednesday
Jan212015

One Stylish Mama

 

Guys, I’m SO excited about today… I don’t even know what to DO with myself!  Lately, I’ve been working with a lot of women about transitional times in their lives.  Whether you just lost a ton of weight, had a baby, or just broke up with your boyfriend, these transitions really can affect every aspect of our lives.  This is especially true for our wardrobe.  The clothes we used to wear don’t always serve us now.  This can cause us to go into a downward spiral, of becoming self-conscious or getting frustrated with our current clothes that no longer fit us, physically or mentally.   

This was something I experienced first hand since I had Zoe. Not just because my body changed, but because my lifestyle changed as well.  I work with a lot of moms that feel like they lose a big part of their styles when they become a mom.  I've made it my goal to inspire women to realize that just because their style has to evolve, doesn't mean it has to get lost in the shuffle.  Which brings me to a new series on the blog called One Stylish Mama.   Once a month I’ll be sharing with you an inspiring mama who rocks her style, business and life HARD.

Today’s stylish mama is Abi Q of Abi Q photography.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Abi on a few amazing shoots and I have to tell you - she’s just as brilliant as she is stylish.  I’m constantly inspired by how open she is.  She is completely herself at all times.  Her kids also happen to be absolutely gorgeous and I love following along with her journey through social media because she has such a beautiful perspective on life. Below is my interview with this incredibly stylish mamapreneur of 3.

Introduce yourself and your rad business:

Hi!!! I'm Abi! I'm married to my college sweetheart and mom to three little men, Finley, Stone and Indio. I also am a photographer and own my own business, Abi Q Photography. 

What is the biggest difference in your style from before you were pregnant, to pregnancy, to mamahood?

Before I became a mom I would say I was much more a jeans and tee shirt kinda girl. Even after adopting Finn, I wore Toms every day and jeans because it was easy and perfect for taking care of a toddler. Then I got pregnant and I stopped worrying about what people would think if I wore the fur vest. I started mixing my closet a bunch more and coming up with outfit choices that weren't just black on black on black because I had to. Nothing fit right and I had to be creative. I started wearing a lot more accessories and being more daring with my choices. 

Was there an item of clothing or turning point where you can distinctly remember thinking... things are changing with my style?

There were these Free People Boots I found a few years ago that I literally dreamed about at night.  They are ankle boots with tapestry on the sides, totally something that I wouldn't of normally fell in love with. But oh man. I wanted them SO BAD but I just couldn't justify spending the money on them. For months I thought about them to the point of obsession. Then one day, one of my sweet brides told me she could get them for me half off. I almost died. They're still my favorite things I own and I wear them ALL the time. 

How has your business influenced your style?

I firmly believe every choice I make in my business determines the type of clients I get. Abi Q brides are dance in the desert brides. They wear their hair down on their wedding day and walk barefoot down the aisle. They're a little bit hippie, and a lot of a free spirit. They crave adventure. My ideal client is essentially a lot like me. Which means that I can't go to a client consult or a business meeting or even an event party wearing anything other then what screams Abi Q and the style client I want. I have to be true to myself. So I don't wear pencil skirts or blazers or pants suits to weddings, instead I wear maxi dresses that flow and have movement. I don't wear designer heels to events; I wear those fabulous Free People Boots.  And instead of wearing jeans and a tee shirt to a client consult, I wear a fur vest or a statement piece that I love and my husband doesn't understand, because my ideal brides, they love that statement piece too.

It's all about staying true to what YOU LOVE. - tweet it

What item of clothing or brand do you currently love?

Right now I'm in a “buy fabulous jewelry phase” and loving Lauren Wolf. I also bought my first pair of Hunters and wear them EVERYWHERE.  Also, I’m always into Free People. I mean. C’mon. 


Favorite item of clothing or brand that you love for your kids?

Oh goodness. I love Quinn and Fox, their clothes are probably my favorite in terms of coziness and look that I've ever got for my boys. I also love Duchess and Lion and have several of their rompers that are sitting waiting for the two littlest to grow just a littttttle bit more to fit into. It's kinda killing me. I also love Mini and Maximus and would love to own some Bobo Choses someday. I'm kinda addicted to buying stuff for my boys. I also bought both my two oldest Hunters and they're my favorite item right now I think. So easy to slip on and hella cute. 

What is one thing you love about being a mom?

The cuddles. 

What is one of the hardest things about being a mom?

The mom, mom, mommy, mama, mom, mom, mom, mom's.  My almost two year old is in a phase where he literally says my name twenty times a minute and sometimes I'm all “is it time for a drink yet?” And it's only 9 am. (insert laughing emoticon here.) 

If you could describe your style in 3 words what would it be?

Comfortable, classic, free. 


Ugh, love her!  Stay tuned each month for another installment of One Stylish Mama.  My hope for this series is to inspire you to remember who you are.  That just because you are a mama, or you are a busy entrepreneur, or you’ve changed in some major way that that means you can’t have great style.  Continue to ask yourself the right questions and to be open to the idea that you are an ever evolving, changing woman.  Your style is ever evolving and changing too.  I mean… if it didn’t we’d all still be wearing scrunchies and acid washed jeans.  You know what I’m sayin? 

Here’s to true, authentic style!

xoxo,

Melanie

Wednesday
Dec242014

How to Shop in Your Closet for New Years Eve

Boom!  The holiday season is almost over. You went to all the fancy dinners, crazy amounts of family gatherings and a ton of parties. You bought way too many new outfits and know every item that Anthropologie has at the moment.  Eventually you know that you have to head back to your closet but you feel like everyone has seen everything you own.  New Years Eve is here, and before you go out last minute to buy yet another dress you'll wear once this year, let me tell you about something I call "shopping in your closet".

 Last year I started to create a practice around "shopping in my closet" that really changed my perspective on my clothes.  I gotta tell you, there is something super freeing about being able to say "I'm not buying new clothes!" and really taking a look at what you already have in a new light.

There are three principles I take into account when trying to "shop my closet". By asking yourself the right questions you are forcing yourself to think creatively.  This especially comes through when it comes to special events.  You want an outfit but can’t buy a new outfit for every new party!  It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like you are wearing the same thing to everything, or that you have nothing to wear OR that you just spent a gazillion dollars for a whole new holiday wardrobe.  This is where I come in.  The principles I follow help you to see your closet in a whole new and exciting way.  This is a great practice to start in 2015.  Don't ya think?

Below is an outfit planned from head to toe from my very own closet. It works for tonight's New Year's Eve festivities and beyond!  Don’t believe me that this look was fully from my closet?  Here is a little diagram for ya!


Melanie’s Top 4 Style Tips for Shopping Your Closet 

New Year's Eve addition

 Sparkles are always a good idea

One thing that never goes out of style is sparkles for the holiday season.  While some people wear sequins all year round, there are others that only bust it out for New Years.  When you step into your closet to decide what to wear, you can always go for something a little shiny and festive.  Wearing a sequin top for a night out in Vegas is a completely different thing than a holiday party.  It’s also usually a different crowd.  So to them it’s brand new!   Which brings me to my next tip.

Remind yourself that no one else remembers

That's right, I don't want to burst your bubble, but every time I get self conscious about re-wearing something, I get tons of compliments! Plus, to top it off, nobody remembers they have already seen it! I have worn the dress pictured to a bachelorette party, a Christmas party, 2 New Years eve parties (one where I was 6 months pregnant) and to countess date nights out. No joke. You will be surprised at how accessories can change a look.  Every single time people say "Melanie, is that a new dress!?".  Even my husband... Sigh.

Take boredom out of the equation

One of the top reasons we want to buy something new is because we get bored with our own clothes. It's not always the fear that people have already seen it as much as YOU have already seen it. A lot. It's not exciting anymore. I totally get it. So I want you to take a dress that you used to love, and look at it with a new perspective. What if you had just brought this dress home from the store? How would you make it shine?

 Allow hair and makeup to change it up

Ever associate a particular hair and makeup style with an outfit? I do this all the time. I say "Oh! My go-to hair with that blouse is a side braid!"  While this is nice in a pinch it can be really fun to switch it up!

For me, I decided to go for a more twenties inspired look to change up this dress. I usually wear it with my hair down and a sexy red lip. That became my go to. So once I gave myself the task of making it have more of a roaring twenties feel it totally shifted my perspective!  Thanks to my girl Melissa Hoffmann for always making me step outside of my makeup and hair comfort zone.

So the next party you have to go to, I want you to get EXCITED about your outfit.  That doesn’t mean to go out and buy a whole new look.  It means to look at your closet with new eyes and a positive attitude! 

If you decide to shop in your closet using the above tips, I'd love for you to tag me and share!  Find me on Instagram @hohwithmelanie or tag #confidentstyle #hohwithmelanie

I'm currently whipping up a VERY exciting project that I can't wait for you to hear more about.  It involves gems just like shopping in your closet.  So if this was your jam you definitely want to get on the list here.

Happy "Shopping"! 

xoxo,

Melanie 

 Photo Cred - Rosa Delgado and Hair and Makeup - Melissa Hoffmann

Tuesday
Dec232014

A Wrapping Party Setup

If you are anything like me, you've been wrapping presents all week.  I am a firm believer in making the mudane tasks fun and exciting as much as possible.  This is true for me from everything from shopping for bathing suits to cleaning out your closet.  There is always a choice.  You can either drag your feet and dread the task at hand, or you can make it a party!  

So this year, when it was time to wrap I set the stage for the ultimate wrapping party.  I thought I would share it with you here:

1) Snackies - You gotta have snacks when you are planning a party, so why not a party for yourself?  My favorite thing to do is to make a fancy cheese plate for one (what can I say.. I never met a cheese I didn't like).

If you like something that is easier to eat and wrap, eat and wrap I have the perfect recipe for you.  It's SO EASY and delicious.  My dear friend Claudine of Cooking with Claudine taught me how to make these and now they are a staple for me whenever I'm going to a party and want to bring something yummy. 

2) A playlist.  Right now I'm really into The Drifter's Holiday Station on Pandora but really anything that gets you going and PUMPED!  This could be old school TLC or the Rocky theme song.  No matter what it is, make sure it's long enough to keep the party going!

3) Mixing prints and patterns.  I love a good wrapping challenge.  Try asking yourself the question "Which two wrapping papers are the LEAST likely to work together?" and then try to make it work!  It adds a really fun element to wrapping.  Almost like a party game.  Whoever makes the crazy combination wins!

4) A cocktail (or 3) - I'm a huge fan of a good cocktail especially at a party.  You know what I love more than a good cocktail?  A good THEMED cocktail.  Here are three holiday inspired cocktails to help make wrapping presents THAT much easier.  

Drink 1

Drink 2

Drink 3

 

5) Personal touches.  I really love adding personal touches to everything I do.  Whether it's a party or a gift, a personal touch is the perfect way to make someone feel special.  Lola was less than thrilled that she wasn't in all my Instax Mini photos so I decided to include her in my wrapping extravaganza as well.  What says "Happy Holidays" more than a boston terrier?

6) The essential wrapping tools.  Fun paper, tape, washi tape, ribbon and scissors.  Throw in some twine and pine for good measure.

I hope this holiday season is like the best party ever!  

If you want to hear more about my holiday wrapping musings (as well as more cameos from Lola the boston terrier) you can take a look at my guest post on The Refined Woman here.  

Also, I'm currently creating a very exciting new project that I can not WAIT to share more with you about. If you want to be the first to know about it, sign up here.  Stay tuned in the new year for more details, but for now, all you need to know... is that you want to be on this list!

Happy Holidays loves!

xoxo,

Melanie

 

Photography – Krista Marie Photography and Hair and Makeup – Melissa Hoffmann

 

Coatdressbeltsimilar sockssimilar heelssimilar earringsringone of a kind bracelet

 

Present Items: Awesome bookFa La La MugEmergency KitBand Aids

Tuesday
Dec232014

Embracing your Personal Style 

Hello my darling!

How is your holiday season going?  I just wanted to pop in and say a holiday hello!  This month has been a complete whirlwind of shopping, photo shoots, guest posts and features.  In between that I was rocking holiday party outfits, chasing a toddler around the house and spreading holiday cheer (obvs).  

One of my favorite things to talk about (especially around the holidays) is embracing your personal style.  While this seems like an easy thing to do, I find that so many women struggle with OWNING their style.  Is this something you have ever encountered?  It can be challenging to know "Is this me?" which often makes us frustrated and confused.  

A few years ago, I found myself in a little bit of a "style pickle".  When I was single, living in Manhattan I liked to push the fashion envelope.  I loved being inspired by theatre and movies, as well as jumping at the chance to wear some fun vintage piece that I found in a cute little consigment shop in the West Village.  I relished in standing out and wore heels on every date.  Then, my life changed.  It was certainly a welcomed change that I'm very grateful for, but my old style didn't really suit my new lifestyle.  I wasn't running around the streets of Manhattan anymore.  I was chasing my baby around a playground and shopping with clients in suburbia.  Heels and vintage dresses no longer seemed appropriate.  I made a very important decision one day that has shaped how I dress today.  I decided that this didn't need to be a negative thing.

You don't have to long for your old style and life if you love your new style and life just as much.  

I think we often compare ourselves to a younger version as if that younger version was better.  To me, having more confidence in who I am (as I get older) has helped me define myself and my style even more.  This gives me the ability to still test the fashion waters in a way that works for who I am now, not who I used to be.  

Constantly asking the question "Would I buy this in a store now?"  keeps your closet fresh, current and unique to you.  

This year, we started to get invited to a lot of holiday parties.  This is the first year in awhile that I wasn't pregnant or in the world of 24/7 infant spit up so I wanted to tap into that old part of me that liked to "go for it" with fashion.  It was fun to mix the old me with the new and make fun combinations.  It was also a great lesson for me to learn that even though I'm a different person who isn't going to be galavanting NYC at 3 am in a faux fur coat, I can still wear that faux fur to a holiday party at a friends house and feel just as fabulous.  

I can choose to "Go for it" in my every day clothes too.  Maybe that means wearing polka dot sneakers or doing my hair and makeup a little more playful for the day.  Whatever makes you smile and confident.

So as Christmas approaches, and the New Year is about to begin, I want you to think about your personal style.  How can you OWN it in 2015?  What makes your style unique to you now?  What do you LOVE about yourself that you can showcase more through your clothes?  Over the next few weeks I'll be focusing more on this so we can really start to ask ourselves the right questions.  In my opinon, having a really confident sense of style is one of the easiest ways to showcase who we are.  It's a form of expression and gives us a chance to be proud of ourselves when we leave the house.  If you want to hear more on the subject you can check out my guest post over on Verily Magazine last week here.  Have a wonderful week full of fun fashion choices and relaxation!

xoxo,

 Melanie

Coat, Jumpsuit, Bag, Shoes, Necklace, Vintage Bracelets, Ring, Ring

Photography by Krista Marie Photography and Hair and Makeup by Melissa Hoffmann

 

Thursday
Dec112014

HOHliday Gift Guide - Treat Yourself!

How is every body's week going?  Here in Cali we are about to have a crazy rain storm.  I'm preparing to hunker down and make a gingerbread house with Zoe.  If it actually happens, and she doesn't realize that sugar tastes delicious I'll post something to Instagram later.  Wish me luck!  

This year has been amazing when it comes to holidays.  As mentioned in several previous posts.  I'm a festive person.  For real.  I just love a good holiday celebration.  There has been something extra special in the air this year.  I think it's because it's the first year my daughter is actually experiencing the holidays.  She was alive last year and of course it was amazing.  Boy did we make the most out of her looking cute in a santa hat, but she wasn't as aware of everything as she is this year.  It's been magical to watch her learn, sing and explore her way through holidays.  It's really getting me in the spirit.  I'll tell ya that!  I have been going a little crazy in the gift department too.  Well, and the wrapping department.  The struggle is real.  

With all this giving and wrapping and thinking about presents, don't you feel like you should get something for being so generous?  Yea me too!  Shopping for other people can be really tempting!  Also, there are SO MANY DEALS.  It could make a girl go blind.  So I would like to propose that you get yourself something nice this year.  Just a little something that you know no one else is going to get you.  That can be your gift to you... for being awesome.  There has got to be something that caught your eye that you want for yourself.  I'm totally going to be that friend that enables you... 

Treat yourself girl... you deserve it!


Mini Emergency Kit, Bangle, Teapot, Glitter Cansiter, Headphones, Bookends

 

Other things you could do for yourself:

Get a massage.

Donate to your favorite charity.

Ask the babysitter to come one extra hour so you can take a nap.

Hire a cleaning service for the day after Christmas.

Hire a stylist to take you shopping.  (hint hint)  

 

Actually.. while I'm on the sujbect, my talented friend Melissa Hoffmann and I have created the ultimate shopping experience for women entrepreneurs.  If you are looking to shop for a new outfit for your photo shoot, or your makeup game needs some perfecting for speaking engagements, this is for you!  Here is a little bit more about it.

So, how are you planning on treating yourself for the holidays?  Any other great suggestions?  Can't wait to hear about it!  

xoxo,

 

Melanie

 

Photography by Krista Marie Photography and Hair and Makeup by Melissa Hoffmann