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.  


Overslept? I got you covered.

Last week I woke up totally pooped.  Between the "after vacation blues", staying up too late to work on new exciting Head Over Heels projects and chasing a 1 year old around all day, I was just having one of those mornings.  You know, the kind where you are just totally EXHAUSTED.  The picture above is when my pup Lola was having one of those mornings as well.  Clearly, she gets it.  I decided to sleep a few extra minutes before Zoe woke up.  I usually take this time to get ready, but on this morning shut eye just seemed like the best plan.  What I didn't realize in my half sleepy state, was that I had a fully packed day and not very much time to get ready for it.  This, my friends is the turning point you want to throw on torn sweats and a dingy baseball cap and hope no one sees you.  I do NOT want that to happen to you!  Put the sweatpants down!  I repeat PUT THE SWEATPANTS DOWN!  Your whole day will be better if you feel good about yourself.  Luckily, I now have tons of quick tips that will speed up your getting ready time.  Now you can walk out the house feeling like a million bucks.  Read now, thank me later (when you have time)!  

Top 5 Ways to Feel Stylish and Put Together FAST

1)  One and Done!  Pick an item that is an outfit in itself.  Instead of spending twenty minutes deciding which blouse to wear with that skirt (only to realize later you don't have shoes that match) choose an item like a maxi dress or jumper to wear on those time crunched mornings.  This takes a lot of the guess work out of your morning routine.  Summer is the best for this because you don't need lots of layers to keep warm.  Take advantage and rock that new sundress!

2)  Go for Gold.  Don't have time to think about if that green and turquoise are clashing or working together?  Take the guess work out and wear your gold jewelry.  I'm a huge fan of gold bangles.  They instantly complete and outfit and are easy to throw on.  Some other favorite pieces are my chunky gold necklaces.  Boom, you just accessorized like a boss.

3) Don't second guess yourself.  One of the top reasons my clients say they spend too much time getting dressed in the morning is because they second guess their decisions!  Girl, ain't nobody got time for that.  Trust your gut and move on to the next task!  A good way to ensure you don't regret your clothing decisions later is to pick outfits that are comfortable as well as fashionable.  

4)  Stick with the faves.  It's not time to reinvent the wheel when you are strapped for time.  If you have an outfit that you consider your "go to", now is the time to put it on and never look back.  If you gravitate towards your favorite flat, I bet you'll feel the most comfortable in them.  While I might tell you to think outside your comfort zone on mornings you have the time, today is not that day!  Put on your favorite and get moving sister!

5) Plan ahead.  So, I know how this sounds.  You are thinking "But Melanie, how was I supposed to KNOW I was going to be running late?".  Here's the thing.  Find the time to plan for the mornings that you DON'T have the time.  So take half an hour one night, and plan out 3 amazing outfits.  I would even take a picture of yourself in them so you remember what you put on.  Then, before the overslept panic mode sets in, you can get to putting on your new favorite outfit with ease.  I call these my "Quick Outfits".  

Because I understand this can be more easily described visually (and I really want this to help you) I decided to give you some examples.  Check it out below.  

Outfits L to R: One, Two, Three

Did this blog post get the "brain wheels" turning?  Comment below and tell me about an outfit that seems perfect for those rushed mornings.  I love to hear about your "aha" moments!  

If you like what you learned in this post you are in for some serious luck!  Once a month I'll be sharing tips like these to help you achieve quick chicness with ease.  If you would like more specific stylish examples from my own closet you are ALSO in luck!  Gosh, I really am doling out the luck today!  Next week I'm going to be sharing with you the start of a new series called "One Look" two ways.  And what's first up in this series?  An outfit that meets all the criteria for a "quick outfit" like the ones we discussed in this post.  Can't wait to show you!




Style Post - Learning from the Color Wheel

Hello my loves!

With summer upon us I am really enjoying wearing tons of color.  I'm adore looking for new ways to spice things up and lately color and pattern are my two favorite ways to make that happen.   My clients are always expressing that they want new ways to wear old dresses.  Today's post will do just that!  It all has to do with a grade school basic.  That's right!  We are going back to elementary school art class.  The color wheel is a great way to look at your wardrobe with fresh eyes.  Since blue and orange are on opposite sides of the wheel they are known as "complimentary colors".  Therefore, when it comes to clothes, applying that principle will give you a fun new way to coordinate.  We don't always have to match blue with blue, or pink with pink.  You can use opposite colors by using the color wheel and know that the colors will work together.

I always view this orange Kate Spade purse as a statement piece.  It's so vibrant that it demands attention, and I like it that way!  It's best not to fight a big statement piece but just let it shine like the bright orange purse it wants to be!  I chose my trusty fav black heels to help tone down the rest of the look and bring in the black stripe from the side of the dress.  Everyone, and I repeat... everyone needs a pair of black heels that make them feel amazing.  It will make getting dressed up MUCH easier.  I also decided to play with pattern a bit in this look.  Not only with the stripes on the side of this sheath, but with this geometric cuff.  I love this cuff because it ties the whole look together in a seamless way.  

When you are in your closet and you see your favorite blue dress that you have worn a 1000 times with the same tired accessories, bust out your color wheel knowledge and change it up!  I'd love to see what you come up with!  In the comments section on the blog tell me about a color combo that you are loving right now!  If you are inspired and decide to rock a new look, take a picture and use the hashtag #confidencewithmelanie!  Can't wait to see what you are wearing!

Dress, Earrings, Cuff, (Shoes and Bag no longer available)

Photography: Melanie Duerkopp Photography

Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann




The First Time I Dyed My Hair

I'm a brunette.  Always have been.  In fact, I've had the same hair since I was 10.  I'm a twin, and when my sister cut their hair back in high school into an adorable pixie cut, it became a way to identify us.  So I just became the brown, long haired one.  After awhile it became a scary thing to think of cutting or changing my hair.  It's a huge part of our identity and it can be a daunting thought to change that.  So when I first started to toy with the idea of a hair transformation it was definitely a little nerve-wracking.  

Because I am a low maintenance hair gal I knew having a short cut was going to be too much work.  That's right, long hair is actually EASIER than short hair.  Especially with curly hair like mine.  I just embrace the "Messy Hair, Don't Care" philosophy, but if you have short hair you must spend time doing it every morning.  So, with short hair off the table, I started to think about hair dye.  And that's sort of where I stopped.  I decided to consult a professional.  This is because I'm always of the philosophy that if you aren't an expert, don't try to be one, just find one.  I decided to call my friend Lindsay Skog to give me a fresh cut and a new do.  

When we first started chatting, I expressed wanting something different but I didn't want to lose too much length.  I mentioned that I also wanted something low maintenance.  That's when she suggested dying with an ombre technique.  Ombre is a really popular hair trend right now and I can see why.  As my hair grows, it will continue to look great, instead of having to touch up roots all the time.  I was sold!  I then asked her if she thought we should do a richer brown, to which she quickly convinced me to go much much lighter.  Aaaaand that's how I became a blondie.  Well, at least for me it's blonde!  If I'm being totally honest, it was a HUGE change for me.  Sometimes I wake up and I literally say into the mirror "Hey!  Who is that blonde girl?!" and other days I feel like it's totally me.  I'm sure by the time I get used to it it will have changed.  But in all honesty, I am so proud of myself!  Changing your hair is a big deal!  Especially if you don't do it often.  I'm not sure whether or not I'll keep this hair color forever, but it's done something very important for me.  It's taught me that I don't have to be tied to anything.  I can try new things and experiment with a "No harm, no fowl" mentality.  That's how I feel fashion should be.  When it comes to your style, don't be afraid to try something new!  The worst thing that can happen is that you learn from it.  I say that's a pretty good con if you ask me!

In the comments section on the blog I'd love to hear about a hair change that you were scared to do, or that you are thinking about.  Let's support each other in these changes!  Hey, if I can do it, you can do it!  Go for it girl!  

All the lovely photographs from this post are from the talented Melanie Duerkopp Photography.

Makeup and Hair by the amazing Melissa Hoffmann

Top: J Crew, Necklace: Anthropologie, Earrings: Kate Spade




Client File- Bloom Retreat

With Mother's Day approaching there is one place that comes to mind.  Bloom Retreat in Walnut Creek came into my life when I didn't even know I needed it.  It's founder Michelle Long is not only a client but a friend who I respect and look up to.  What she has been able to accomplish with Bloom Retreat is truly inspiring.  I had the pleasure of working with Abi Q Photography (also featured here) and Melissa Hoffmann (who guest posted here) to style not only the stunning Michelle, but the incredible space she's created.  

Bloom Retreat is an oasis created for mothers to unwind and receive the calm moments they deserve.  They have everything from a co-working space, yoga studio, spa rooms and on-site childcare.  I mean, what more could you want?!  Oh, how about a community of supportive women that want to connect and help support each other.  It really is something special and I feel honored to be a part of this shoot and to help contribute to a place that is doing so much good.  

The space is filled with vintage finds that add a quaint and cozy touch.  There is an instant calm that waves over you as you enter the space and when styling the space, I wanted to emphasize that.  Peach and cream roses, Bloom's white tea cup collection and old cameras were just some of the key pieces used in this shoot.  But my absolute favorite thing used in the photo shoot was light.  Abi is a serious genius with how she photographs light.  But that's a whole separate blog post.  
I love the pictures of Michelle's kids.  They are so relaxed in front of the camera and they also happen to be the cutest kids ever.  Above is her sweet daughter Edie looking precious as ever.  Here is a little tip if your kids are being photographed with you.  Pick their favorite outfit, the shoes they live in (if they aren't too gross) and comfort is key.  If your kids feel at ease it will be much easier to capture them in their natural state.  As someone who frequents Bloom Retreats yoga classes often, I can't tell you what a safe space it is.  At the beginning of Michelle's class she asks everyone "What do you need from today's class?".  As each person goes around the room and responds to the question at hand, there is something special that happens.  It bonds us.  It's a pretty incredible thing to say that not only is my yoga class helping my body and my mind, but it makes me feel connected and supported.  Special stuff.  

Bloom's philosophy is:

When we take time to care for ourselves and realign with our centers, we…

  • become better mothers, partners, and women
  • embrace our roles, our creativity and energy reignite
  • remember our beauty… and we bloom.

We wanted Michelle's look to be in line with the space.  Cozy, inviting and warm.  Melissa kept her makeup and hair soft and natural which just enhanced her natural beauty.  Such a lovely woman inside and out.  I love her story about how Bloom Retreat was created.  She took tragedy and turned it into understanding.  And from that understanding she realized a necessity for a space that could remind Mom's to take time for themselves.  I appreciate that she saw something that needed to exist and then she made it happen.  You can learn more about it here.Bloom Retreat does every day what Mother's Day does once a year.  Mamas are celebrated, appreciated and cared for in a genuine way.  So in the spirit of Bloom, to all you mamas out there I have something to tell you.

 "Mama, you deserve all the love, chest bumps, fist pounds, high fives and baby hugs in the world." - Tweet it to spread the mom love!

Oh!  And a special mama's day shout out to my own Mom.  Even after 30 years (cough cough.. yes I'm 30) she still knows how to make me feel supported and taken care of.  Sending you love all the way from California!






Seven Beauty Products You Need for Your Next Vacation

Melissa Hoffmann is one talented lady.  She's a whiz with hair and a true artist with makeup.  Melissa helps women feel like the best versions of themselves.  It's amazing to see how she can work her magic and her clients leave more knowledgable, more confident and more beautiful than ever.  Case in point, the above photos of Melissa working her magic on me!

 Melissa's mission in life is to help women realize their worth by spending time on themselves to look as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside, and learn how to do it as easily as she could do it for them.  Her work has made several appearances on this blog and I can't wait to show you what we have up our sleeves.  She was kind enough to share her top beauty products with us today.  And I gotta say, I've already picked up whatever of these products I didn't already have.  This list is so good.  

Here's Melissa!

This past year I was lucky enough to have gone on two fabulous, relaxing vacations. In March 2012 I went to Maui with my boyfriend, and this past March I was in Costa Rica with a group of amazing women entrepreneurs. I love travelling to new places, but when I go on vacation I usually tend to go somewhere warm and tropical. I love the ocean, the beach, and the warm weather.


 Most of my time on vacation is spent on the beach, in the ocean, or doing some kind of outdoor activity (zip-lining over the jungle!), but there are also nice dinners out or shopping in town that I don’t want to look like a total mess for. I find that when I’m on vacation I don’t want to spend a lot of time getting ready, but I still want to look and feel pretty and polished. Since I’m usually in a tropical, humid place, I want my makeup and hair to be easy and natural, but still bring out my features. I also want to limit the amount of products I’m bringing, so there’s more room for flowy dresses, souvenirs and gifts to be brought home. When I travelled to Costa Rica, I had to take a really small plane over to the town I was staying in, and they had a baggage weight limit of 27 lbs! I really had to make I was only bringing what I absolutely needed.

I think many women feel the same way, with wanting their beauty routine to be easy and quick while on vacation, but still feel good about how you look. And it can be hard to figure out what to pack and what to leave behind. I came up with a list of my 7 favorite beauty products to bring on vacation to help you with packing for your next vacation. And even though I went on a tropical vacation, this list can help you if you’re going somewhere cold or a work trip.

Before I get into my list, I also wanted to share the tip of bringing everything you can in travel-sized bottles. I’ll usually get travel sizes of my favorite shampoo and conditioner, hair sprays, and put my skincare in smaller jars or bottles too. You can get smaller jars, bottles and spray bottles from Target, or the MAC store has some nice options for containers too.

1.     Sea Salt Spray- I love using sea salt sprays for an easy styling option for my hair. They give you nice, controlled beachy texture, and can bring out some waves in hair that is naturally straighter. I’ll usually jump out of the shower, spray on some sea salt spray all over my hair, scrunch it up and go. My favorites are by Phillp B, Bumble and Bumble, and Davines.

2.     Dry Shampoo- I don’t blow dry my hair while on vacation (mostly because it’s too hot and I’ve usually forgotten my travel hair dryer), so I’ll use dry shampoo to give my hair volume at the roots, and to absorb any oil if I don’t want to wash it. I love the ones by Oribe and TiGi’s Dirty Secret.

3.     Tinted Moisturizer- I keep my makeup minimal on vacation, but I still want my skin to look fresh and dewy. Instead of foundation, I like to use a tinted moisturizer (or BB or CC cream) to give me good coverage but still look natural. Plus they have SPF in them, so it’s one less thing I have to put on. I’ve been loving Smashbox’s CC cream, but also love Laura Mercier and Nars’ tinted moisturizers.

4.     Waterproof eyeliner- There’s 2 eye products I’ll bring in my makeup bag, and this is one of them. You have so many options with an eyeliner, and waterproof is a must if you’re in a humid location or will be in the water. I bring 2 eyeliners with me- a brown one for naturally enhancing my eyes, and a teal one for a fun pop of color. You can apply into the lashes for natural definition, a thick bold line, or smudge it all around your eye for a sexy smoky eye. Make Up For Ever and Urban Decay have great staying power and an awesome color range for eye liners.

5.     Waterproof mascara- having thick, long black lashes is sometimes all you need on your eyes. MAC, Make Up For Ever and Dior make great mascaras. I also love Loreal’s Voluminous in Carbon Black.

6.     Bronzer or Nars Multiple- You’re going to need some color in your face for a fresh glow. Since I love dewy skin, I’ll use a powder bronzer as my powder to add a glow to my skin, and then pop some color on my cheeks with my current favorite Nars Multiple in Na Pali Coast. The Na Pali Coast adds some coral to my cheeks, but you could also get a multiple in a bronzy color to keep it simple. And if you haven’t checked out the Multiples yet you must! They can be used on the cheeks, eyes and lips and are awesome for keeping things simple.

7.     Tinted lip balm with SPF. I like to keep things easy on my lips, and I don’t want to have to worry about touching up or my lipstick melting down my face. A tinted lip balm is perfect for giving natural color but also protecting your lips from the sun. Fresh makes amazing lip balms with 7 beautiful colors, and they have SPF 15 in them for protection. Plus they are super hydrating, and give shine to your lips.

What makes you feel pretty and put together on vacation, but still easy and natural? What are your favorite products to bring on vacation?

I’ve shared my must-bring beauty faves for travel with you and I’d love to hear from you what your favorite products are to bring on vacation! Leave a comment below to share what makes you feel pretty and put together on vacation, but is still easy and natural, or share any tips you have on keeping things simple while travelling. And if you found these helpful, please share with your friends!




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