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.  




Get The Look - Ali's Engagement Session Style


Photo by Sweet Little Photographs

After Monday's engagement post I was getting lots of requests on where to get Ali's look.  Who could blame them?! She looks amazing!  Well, today is your lucky day because I'm about to break it down for ya!  

Dress, Lip Gloss, Earrings, Nail Polish, Luminizer, Heels

Ali's style is clean and classic with a little bit of prep thrown in for good measure.  She loves to look effortlessly chic and (especially due to her incredible height) this style totally suits her.  When Ali and I started talking about outfit ideas for her and Tyler's engagement shoot she had some criteria.  She knew she wanted it to be an elevated version of what she would normally wear, she wanted to show off her legs and she wanted to feel comfortable.  Ali also tends to gravitate towards neutrals which don't always photograph well.  Since we wanted them to stand out among the setting of the Sutro Baths we decided that some color was the way to go.  So the challenge was to find a color that Ali loved and felt great in, that also worked well in photographs.  Ali is also not a huge fan of big accessories.  While she loves a great earring or necklace, they are usually smaller pieces and meant to compliment her style not be the statement.  Since we were "elevating" her look we liked the idea of a dress that had some texture and detail in it to create visual interest without tons of jewelry.

The Dress - This gorgeous Nanette Lepore dress was perfect for Ali because it showed off incredible legs as well  We wanted to show them off in a classy and stylish way.   This dress also was a great color for Ali and the lace detail added the perfect detail without a ton of jewelry.  Ali got this dress from Rent The Runway which is an amazing source for women who have high end taste but who don't want to spend a ton every time they have an event.  You can rent a dress (they send you a few sizes to make sure it fits) for a few days for a fraction of the price!  Such a smart idea.  

Heels - Ali owned a pair of great nude pumps and opted to wear them opposed to getting something new.  I always suggest that if you are going to be in heels for a long period of time, it's better for them to be broken in.  Also, we didn't want anything competing with that dress!  The nude heel also didn't add any lines so her legs weren't cut off and looked even longer!  If you don't own a pair of nude heels, you should probably go shopping right now!  They are so versatile and flattering.  

Earrings - Ali wore the Stella and Dot drop earrings shown above to add a little bit of color and to accentuate her eyes.  They were the perfect way to complete the look.

Makeup - One thing I always suggest to brides who are having their engagement pictures taken is to get their hair and makeup done.  I know it may seem frivolous, but unless you are a whiz at doing your own, it's nice to know you are going to look put together and great without you having to stress.  Ali went to Bare Escentuals to have her makeup done and they did a fabulous job.  She looks like she's glowing!  The makeup has a golden hue and looks very soft and natural.  I'd like to have that look every day!

Hair - Ali had her hair blown out at a Blow Dry Bar near her house.  Blow Dry Bars are the new up and coming thing and I couldn't be a bigger advocate of them.  They are usually very affordable and you always leave feeling fantastic!  Ali started with a soft updo before taking it down for the next look.  She told her hair stylist that she was going to take it down which was important so she knew how to add the bobby pins.  We decided Ali's hair should be up with the Nanette Lepore dress because we didn't want anything to compete with the neckline and it felt cleaner.  

Nails - Since everything except for the dress was light and complimentary Ali decided to go with the Shellac color "Beau".  How fitting!  It's important to have manicured nails ESPECIALLY for engagement pictures because there is a possibility that their will be a lot of photographs featuring your ring or up close shots of your hands.  I'm a huge fan of Shellac because it lasts for so long.  I also think they tend to look more polished (pun intended) because they won't smudge at all when you leave the nail salon.  Like I always say... "Once you Shellac, you never go back!!!"

And there you have it!  Ali's complete look from her engagement pictures broken down for your viewing pleasure.  I didn't mention the most important accessory because it's quite personal to each bride.  But, I should mention that the number one, most important thing in your engagement photos (besides you!!!) is of course your uber attractive fiance. =) The best thing you can do is relax, enjoy your time with your fiance and it will make for killer photos in the end.




Maternity Photos by Abi Q Photography

All Photos By Abi Q Photography

As of today I am 34 weeks pregnant.  I can't even believe I'm typing that!  It's been such an incredible experience and I can't believe this stage is almost coming to an end.  I wanted to have maternity photos taken because I found it really important to document this time in our lives.  I wanted us to be able to look back and remember how amazing this pregnancy has been and how in love we are.  As well as how in love we are with this baby who isn't even born yet.  

After working with Abi Q on this photo shoot, I knew she was the photographer for the job.  Not only is she incredibly talented, a joy to work with and a whiz with light, she also happens to be 9 months pregnant herself!  I loved the fact that while we were shooting we were able to relate on being pregnant and how we have been feeling.  There is something that happens when you come across another pregnant gal.  You instantly connect and there is an unspoken admiration.  It only added to the maternity shoot experience.  I adore her work so much that I knew no matter what, I would love the pictures.  

I have to say, I always love having my photo taken.  I am one of those people who can smile and pose all day long.  But even someone like me can get nervous about taking photos (especially when you are 8 months pregnant!).  Abi made me feel comfortable and confident.  I am also SO glad Andrew was there to be in these photos with me.  Also, I love him in that J Crew gray sweater.  He's glowing, it must be the pregnancy.  ;)

I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites from the session.  I can't wait to frame them and I am so excited that we will be able to show our baby girl these photos in the future.  It's pretty special.




Ali and Tyler's Dreamy Engagement Session by Sweet Little Photographs

All Images by Sweet Little Photographs

I am so excited about today's engagement session that I can hardly contain myself!  Ali and Tyler are two of the sweetest people I know. Oh, and did I mention that they also happen to be two tall drinks of water that look absolutely amazing in everything they put on?  Because that also happens to be true!  Ali and Tyler are that couple that is just too good to be true.  He knows how to fix anything and she can whip up a gourmet meal in a snap.  They also have the most adorable story about how they started dating.  This story includes a chance meeting when Ali was 11 and Ty was 13 and Ali had a mouth full of donuts.  Fast forward to several years later and here they are taking engagement photos with colorful donuts! When you combine an amazing couple who is clearly madly in love and add the incredible photography of Sweet Little Photographs what you have is an out of this world engagement session.  I couldn't be more thrilled that I'm getting to share them with you today!  

Ali and Ty changed into a more casual look later on in the shoot.  I love the pop of green we chose for Ali's top.  It compliments the setting but still makes her stand out. It's always a good idea to bring at least two outfits to an engagement session to make sure you get a few different looks and feels.  We wanted to make sure that even the casual look was elevated and not too "everyday".  I love Ty in that comfy gray sweater and tie.  It's a great way to mix casual and dressed up.  Another way to distinguish two different styles is with hair.  By Ali taking her hair down she was able to get two totally different looks.  So gorg!

Could they be more in love?!  I know, it's the dreamiest engagement session ever.  Can't wait to work with them over the next few months on styling their wedding.  It's going to be so beautiful!  I just can't get enough of these two love birds.  I'll be sharing more on Ali and Ty's look later this week!  

I also want to give an extra shout out to Tim and Merrill of Sweet Little Photographs.  I happen to completely adore these two and highly recommend them to anyone and everyone who is looking for a wedding photographer.  They.are.fantastic.  




Entrepreneurial Style - Working Together With Sarah Jenks

Photo Credit Abi Q Photography

Talk about a quick change!  As promised, I'm breaking down some of the amazing outfits Sarah wore for her website photo shoot with Abi Q.  Sarah changed several times throughout the shoot and we had each outfit carefully accessorized and planned out for ease.  I broke it down for Sarah into "Outdoor Chic", "Street Style", and "Indoor Cozy".  

For the "Outdoor Chic" Looks we wanted Sarah to feel stylish but comfortable.  Sarah just exudes an easy breezy vibe and it all worked together perfectly!  

Top Row: one, two, three, four  Bottom Row: five, six, seven

Above is our inspiration, and below is some of the reality that came from it.  The results are all that we wanted and more.

For the "Street Style" Looks we wanted to portray a sophisticated yet urban feel.  Sarah has so many sides to her personality that we were able to showcase.  We also added some consistent elements throughout the shoot.  Lots of chambray and denim worn in different ways as well as soft hairstyles were worn throughout the day.  

Top Row: one, two, three, four  Bottom Row: five, six, seven

Love what a chameleon Sarah is!  She literally looks amazing in everything she puts on!  I think it's because her energy is so accepting and confident.  She is the quintessential example of a saying that I always tell my clients.  "If you feel great, you will look great".  It doesn't matter if you love a dress in "theory", if you feel self conscious that comes through.  It's all about the energy you put out!

Lastly, here is the mood board for "Indoor Cozy".  You can tell from these pictures that Sarah felt completely comfortable and in her element.  We went for a pop of color on a cozy sweater but a more fitted jean to show off her fabulous shape.

Top Row: one, two, three Bottom Row: four, five, six

This mood board was my favorite because it really captures the essence of finding beauty in the small things.  Also, how amazing is this picture of Sarah and her hubby?!  I think I know who the cute couple award goes to!

Making these mood boards really helped to give the day clear focus and a common ground for Sarah and us to go shopping.  I love working with entrepreneurs on looks that make them feel like they are portraying their best self.  Shoot me an message on my "Let's Chat" Section and let's collaborate together!  Have a wonderful weekend lovies!




Guest Post - Oscars 2013 Recap

Pure Joy

Talking about everything Oscar today on The Collection Event Studio's blog!  Nothing makes me happier than glamorous gowns and Hollywood starlets so go check it out!



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