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
Oct292014

What I believe in...

Hello my sweet!

When was the last time you sat and wrote about what you believed in?  I was asked this exact question this week by a brilliant friend.  She said:

"Mel, what does Head Over Heels believe in?  You know, what do you love so much it makes you giggle with excitement? What does it really stand for?"  

So I sat down to write about all the big, important, beautiful things that I felt were inherently me.  The things I wanted my business to stand strong for.  I started with the actual name.  

The phrase "head over heels" has two different meanings.  

a) Hopelessly Smitten

b) Excited, and/or turning cartwheels to demonstrate one's excitement

When I first started my company I wanted you to fall in love with yourself and your style.  I wanted you to be so freakin excited about the content you saw on this blog, that it made you wanna do cartwheels.  Do cartwheels right into your closet and make some changes.  

As I wrote about what I stood for, I could feel the electricity in my finger tips.  It came naturally to me because I was speaking my truth.  What I loved about what came out of me was that it turned out not to be that serious.  This came as a shock since I believe so seriously in helping you.  But, loving something that is silly, in the really small moments, is just as important as the big ones.  Why not state the importance of a margarita AS WELL as confidence and singing Tay Swift at the top of your lungs?  

So here it is.  The Head Over Heels With Melanie Manifesto.  What I believe in.  What makes me me, and what I hope will inspire you to be exactly who you are.

I'd love to hear if this resonates with you!  Leave a comment below telling me one thing that you adore that you truly believe makes you happy.  It can be as simple as a heart design in your latte.  I can't wait to hear.  

xoxo,

Melanie

P.S.  I'm going to be sharing a few of these statements on Instagram and Facebook! If you agree with me on the emancipation of the phrase "mom jeans" or the importance of stripes I'd love for you to spread the love!

P.P.S. Assorted Photography from Camille Stallings, Melanie Duerkopp, Krista Marie Photography, Em the Gem

Assorted Hair and Makeup by Melissa Hoffmann and The Glamourist

Tuesday
Oct142014

Five Easy Ways to Rock a Scarf this Fall


I've been doing a lot of research lately.  Asking my arsenal of women what they need help with.  Maybe it's because fall is on the brain, maybe it's because they see me wearing one almost every day, who knows.  But one thing was loud and clear.  Everyone wanted help with scarves.  So you asked, and I delivered!  

My love affair with scarves began at an early age.  I always felt more put together in a scarf.  It wasn't until much later that I realized 1) That's why I'm so hot all the time.  2) How one amazing accessory can pull together an outfit in no time.  3)  Layering is my friend.  

I get it, scarves can be intimidating.  There is this large piece of fabric and it NEVER looks the way you expect it to.  Well, today I'm breaking it down for you.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how many different looks I would show you.  And the bottom line was, I didn't want to over complicate it.  There are tons of resources out there for some really complicated scarf tutorials.  Twist it, braid it, you name it!  But I don't think that is realistic or practical.  

What I have found is that the simpler the style, the more likely you will implement it.  Also, some of these scarf tutorials are STRETCHING IT.  Like, I guess you could twist it under your arm and call it the archery scarf style, but no one is going to actually wear it.  I'll give you creativity points though.  

Some of these styles may seem basic.  That's the point.  I WANT them to seem easy because they ARE easy.  So you no longer have to be intimidated by scarves.  You're welcome!

Before we get started I want you to keep these 3 major points in mind throughout.

1) Scarves come in all shapes, weights and sizes.  So don't feel like you automatically can't wear one if the weather is slightly warmer.  Just wear a lightweight scarf such as silk or linen.  These add a nice layer to your outfit without the extra weight.

2) The power of finessing or "jushing".  Gosh that is a hard word to spell.  After you finish putting your scarf on, you are REQUIRED to look in a mirror and jush it for 30 seconds.  I'm telling you.  Those 30 seconds will make all the difference.  Open the fabric up, pull it away from your neck, lay it out nicely etc.  Take the time to look in the mirror and fix it up a bit.  

3) Let the scarf speak for itself.  Today's outfit is casual and simple.  My intention was to let the scarf be the statement.  Also, this proves the point that by adding a scarf you can complete any look.

Let's get going!

The Casual Loop

This one is quite simple, but one of my favorites.  It can be done with scarves of many different shapes and sizes as long as it's long enough to go around your neck.  

Step 1 - Lay your scarf out in front of you with both hands.  

Step 2 - Bring the scarf to the back of your neck. Slide it so it is slightly longer on one side.

Step 3 - Take the longer side and loop it around your neck once.

Step 4 - Pull the center away from your neck.  You don't want it to choke you or look too tight.

Step 5 - Walk away with a strut, cause you are looking good!

The Double Infinity

 Ever see those REALLY long infinity scarves and not know what to do with them?  Loop it a few times with care.  As you loop, take your time with the fabric so it doesn't get twisted.  Easy peasy!  

Step 1 - Hold out the infinity scarf and put the tag (or seam) in the back

Step 2 - Place over your head and check to make sure you aren't twisted.

Step 3- Loop the scarf around your head once.  

Step 4 -  And again!

Step 5 - Play with the fabric and open it up.  

Step 6 - Look cozy and chic.  Done

The Pull Through This style is as easy as it sounds.  It looks great by itself or under a jacket.  Versatile and Easy.  Just how I like it!

Step 1 - Fan Yourself.  Just kidding.  Take the scarf and fold it in half. 

Step 2 - Put the scarf around your neck, still folded in half.

Step 3 - Put your hands through the loop and pull the ends through.

Step 4 - Loosen the knot (what used to be the loop) for a casual, easy breezy look.  

Step 5 - Walk confidently down the street knowing your scarf is staying put!

The DIY Infinity 

Don't you hate when your scarf slips off?  Or it doesn't stay the way you put it when you walked out of the house?  Here's a way to make your scarf into an infinity scarf and never worry about it falling again!

Step 1 - Place around neck with an even amount on either side.

Step 2 - Find the two ends and tie a double knot.  

Step 3 - Twist once and loop back over your head.

Step 4 - Separate the fabric so it's not one long piece but spread out.  Continue to play until you look like the hottest mama on the block.

Step 5 - Do a little "my scarf looks good" dance. 

The Secret Knot

This last style is actually another way to achieve a similar look to the DIY Infinity,  Also, depending on how long your scarf is, you may have extra ties that show at the end which makes for a completely different scart style!  By the way, I feel like I should mention that I got this scarf on my honeymoon in Italy.  It's one of my favorites. Sooooo, it needed to be incorporated into this post.  Don't you think?

 Step 1 - Place the scarf around your neck and slide all the way to one side. Hold onto that end!

Step 2 - Wrap the scarf around your neck twice (depending on how long your scarf is).

Step 3 - Once you have an end in each hand, tie it in a loose knot underneath both layers.  This will ensure your scarf stays in place. 

Step 4 - Finesse and play with scarf until desired look is achieved.

Step 5 - Jump up and down and do a handstand because your scarf isn't going anywhere.

Whew!  So there you have it!  5 fool proof, easy peasy ways to wear your scarf without any fuss, confusion or hassle.  Do you have a favorite way to wear a scarf?  Share below!   

Happy Thursday and Happy Fall!

All Photography by the incredibly talented Krista Marie Photography

Outfit Details - Sweatshirt, Earrings, Jeans, Sneakers (All scarves are from my personal collection.  Some are vintage, some are "vintage" H and M)

xoxo,

Melanie

Tuesday
Sep302014

A Tale About Boobies

This incredible photo was taken by the lovely Em the Gem for an article I wrote on The Refined Woman.

Boobies. That's my 17 month old daughter Zoe's new word.  Yup.  She points to my chest or her own and says it sooo matter of factly. (Thanks to the hubs for this one.) I'm teaching her where her nose is and his contribution is boobies. But it's true. She's learning parts of her body and that is just as much a part of her as her toes. But why did I react differently the first time she said it?

Maybe it's because the first time she said it I was changing and it caught me off guard. It actually made me feel vulnerable. Oh.. Holy moly.... This kid is old enough to know what boobs are. And then it seeped in. That negative thought that I didn't see coming.

"It's probably because they are so big now that she noticed them."

Ummm excuse me?! I had to check myself. First of all, I should probably recognize that I breast fed for a year so this baby is very well acquainted with my breasts.  Also, no. Just... No. What's so amazing about children is they aren't tainted by anything. All she knows is that this is a different part of the body. But my own self conscious thoughts made me go to a place that I don't want her to go. And that's where the real story lies.

I have always loved my boobs (it makes me laugh just typing that!). Seems funny to write it down, but it's true. These puppies have really come in handy. I used to wear sexy bras and always thought of them as one of my best features.

Then breast feeding happened. Actually, pregnancy happened. The second I became pregnant my breasts changed. They got bigger. And when you have big boobs you do NOT want them to get bigger. I was so jealous of my friends who had smaller breasts because when they got pregnant their boobs were ah-mazing. Mine just wouldn't stop getting bigger. Then I had Zoe and my milk came in. I mean... Ayoooooga! Just ask my husband. I remember waking up on the third day of Zoe's life and asking Andrew if my boobs looked different.  Insert crazy eye emoji here. His tongue literally fell onto the floor like a cartoon.

For the next year, I was more self-conscious of my chest. Maybe that's because you are so much more aware of them all the time. Whipping them out in public to feed or feeling engorged after going out to dinner. 

Once I was no longer breast feeding and it had been a few months, I decided it was time to shop for a bra.  HOLY BAJEEZUS!  It had been a long time since I had lifted and supported (if you know what I’m saying)! It was time to practice what I preech.  Because wearing the right bra is an essential part of feeling good.  It’s one of those things you don’t even realize is wrong before it’s right.  You know what I mean?  There I was going about my life in my old lifeless bras.  Then BOOM.  Ummmm did I just lose 15 pounds?! 

That’s right.  A well fitting bra can help make you look slimmer!  It also relieves back pain, changes how clothes fit, and can add LOADS to your self esteem! 

I asked 10 women to go bra shopping and tell me what they learned.  What was so interesting was that the answers were SO consistent!  Here were the top three things women learned when they went bra shopping. 

1)    Size Matters – That is correct!  9 out of 10 women surveyed found out that they were wearing the WRONG BRA SIZE! 

2)    Rolling out the Rotation – All of the women who were surveyed did not realize that they should have more bras.  They admitted to wearing the same bra for several days not knowing how much that ruins the shape.

3)    Bigger Bra Size = Looking Slimmer – All the women who were wearing the wrong size magically felt smaller by going up a size.  This is actually true for most shopping.  You don’t realize that by wearing a smaller size you are creating more bumps and lumps that don’t really exist.  A bra that is too loose will make you appear larger as well.  You could be wearing a shirt that feels tight, and then with the right bra it makes the shirt fit much better.

So, here is what I would like you to do.  Take a look in your underwear drawer (I know.. those undies gotsta go too.  But that’s for another post) and if it’s been awhile since you refreshed the bra drawer then it’s time to get going!  Head over to a bra store that has a bra SPECIALIST, whether it’s a Nordstrom’s or a local bra whisperer store it doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is that it’s not a Victoria’s Secret.  I repeat… DO NOT GO INTO VICTORIA’S SECRET. 

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but “Vickie’s” is part of the whole “I don’t know my size problem.”.  They don’t measure or size their bras the same as anyone else and it’s confusing.  Also, if you are a real D or above, chances are you don’t fit correctly into a lot of their styles.  I know it’s hard because they are the most readily available store, but you must look elsewhere! 

Once you have been fitted correctly, make sure you get a nude bra, a black bra and then a few fun ones to make you get your groove back.  Whether that’s lace or hot pink is up to you.  The important thing is you know your size and you are refreshing something in your closet that desperately needed to be replaced.  Just watch your confidence level soar. 

When it comes to confidence you have to start with the basic foundation.  It will help lift your mood (and something else…) without you even realizing.  That’s always my goal.  To teach you ways to make you feel great, that become an innate part of your routine.  So you are feeling amazing and the effort is already done.

I’d love to know if you have any bra shopping stories. 

Ever go and be shocked by the size?  Felt different after purchasing a new fancy bra? Spill the deets girl!

 

Xoxo,

 

Melanie

 

Thursday
Sep042014

One Outfit: Two Ways - Sundress for Fall

For this last installment of One Outfit, Two Ways I wanted to share with you two items that work seamlessly in transitioning from summer to fall.  This Anthropolgie sundress has been on full rotation this summer and I am just not ready to say goodgbye to it.  By adding two small items I can stretch the life of this dress just a feeeew more weeks.  These two items everyone can have in their wardrobe and rock in a GAZILLION different ways.  I'm talking about a white button down and a black hat.  

If you follow me on Instagram (and you really should ;)) then you have probably noticed my love for button downs.  While they are a classic piece, they can be used in many different ways to spice it up and it can be anything but basic.  In the first few weeks of fall, it can still be quite warm.  It's not quite jacket weather but a light layer is required.  That's where a button down can come in handy!  It also feels a little like I'm channeling Baby from Dirty Dancing (which is clearly my goal in life).  

By now you have seen me wear this black floppy hat a plethora of ways.  When I first started this project I wanted to show you how the same accessories can be worn in different ways and this hat has certainly served us well for that hasn't it?  It's a great way to add some extra fabulousness to any outfit.  And I'm convinced it makes me strut more when I walk.  What?  Hats don't make you strut?  You should try a floppy one, stat!
So, I'd like you to try an excercise this weekend. Head to your closet and pick a favorite summer item.   Now, think about how you can make it last an extra few weeks.  Whether it's adding an extra layer like a crisp white button down or a fun accessory, sometimes all it takes is a new perspective to change your outlook on your clothes.  It's about the overall look so remember to consider layering and switching it up.  In the comments section below, I'd love to hear about what you've learned by doing this exercise!

One Outfit: Two Ways has been a really fun project for me and I hope it has inspired you to look at your accessories and clothes in a broader way.  I have lots of new fun goodies on the horizon and I can not wait to share them with you!

xoxo,

 

Melanie

Dress, White Button Down, Black Hat, Sandals, Necklace

Photography: MELANIE DUERKOPP PHOTOGRAPHY

Hair and Makeup: MELISSA HOFFMANN

Wednesday
Sep032014

What you need to know before you hit the sales rack

(Photo by Melanie Duerkopp from my FREE style guide!  Sign up above or to your right to get all the goods!)

This week has been full of shopping. Shopping for photo shoots, clients and of course a few fall goodies for me and Zo.   The same thing keeps on popping up on my excursions.  All I see are sales. Sales. Sales. Sales.  Sale signs are everywhere you look right now!  Whether you are on the Internet or in a store everything seems to be "Buy Two Get One Free!" and " 40% off the lowest ticketed price!".  Believe me I love it!  But, while it is SO tempting to jump at the opportunity to save some cash, there are a few things you should think about before you head straight for the sale rack.   While I do think you should keep your eye out for a bargain, I don't want you to buy things you DON'T NEED just because it's a good deal.  

My husband is the KING of purchasing things because ONLY because they are affordable and not because he likes them.  So I know this mentality first hand.  Take this man to Costco and you end up with a LOT of spinach, paper towels and a flat screen tv.  If there is a chance to save some cash he is ON it.  This usually comes in handy.  Sometimes, I end up with an endless supply of something that expires next month.

The same goes for clothes.  Last weekend we were shopping at our local outlet mall.  Yes, it's true.  We live near an outlet mall.  I'm not gonna lie, it's very tempting to go cray cray whenever we are shopping there.  Everything is a deal, about to be gone and cheaper than the regular store.  Ever notice how people get more aggressive when there is a sale?  Calm down girl, I swear there are enough Size Medium striped sweaters for an army.... it's cool.  

We walked into Saks Off 5th and I was instantly drawn to a sign for shoes.  Buy two shoes get the third free.  Ummmm excuse me?!  Hell yea!  But, the more I looked the more I realized, I actually didn't see three pairs of shoes that I liked.  I came THIS close to acquiring three pairs of shoes (and still spending a lot of money) just to get a good deal.  But much to my husband's dismay, I decided to get the one pair of sandals that I really liked.  They did happen to be on sale and I got a $150 pair of sandals for $35!  Which, in case it got muddled in the fact that I didn't use the sale, is a BIG WIN!  What I almost did was get another pair of boots that was on sale (but still a whopping $200) and another pair of heels that I didn't really like.  So I took a moment and realized that I could actually save money and precious room in my closet by NOT buying into the sale.  Because I didn't actually need the items that were on sale.  Do I need shoes?  Yes.  But, do I need shoes I don't really love?  Nope.  

So, the next time you see a big ol "Sale!" sign lurking you toward her I want you to think of these three things.

1) Do I need the item that's on sale?  Ask yourself the question of functionality.  What are they selling?  Is it something you have been looking for or do you have 5 already sitting in a drawer at home?

2) Is it my style?  That's right, sometimes we buy things that aren't actually our taste.  We do this because we so desperately want to make things work to save money!  What ends up happening is that it just sits in your closet collecting dust, making your closet bulkier and it was money that could have been in your wallet.

3) If it wasn't on sale would I still buy it?  Give this one a lot of thought.  Sometimes we can be blinded by the idea of the sale.  So make sure it's something you would buy no matter what!  This question is my favorite.  I ask myself this quite often.  

You should be buying clothes because you love them, not just because it was the best one out of the sale items. 

Listen, I'm not saying that sales don't come in handy.   I love me a good bargain.  But, it is very important to have specific intentions when shopping.  Does this ever happen to you?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!  Do you find the sale items you buy to be great deals, or something that sits in your closet?  Let me know! It's a hot topic among friends and I'd love for you to weigh in.  

Remember, sales can sometimes deter you to secretly spend  more than you planned.  So you have to shop smart in order to actually get a deal!  Read between the lines and your closet and wallet will thank you!  Happy shopping!

xoxo,

Melanie