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.  


One Stylish Mama - Alexandra Evjen of Aves Styles--

I've got another great One Stylish Mama post for you today and I'm preeeettttyyyyy stoked about it!  Alexandra Evjen of the incredible fashion website and blog AVE styles is an amazing mama, entrepreneur, stylist, fashion blogger, and Pinterest maven.  Somehow she manages to make it all seem effortless and that comes through in her uber cool yet easy going outfits.  Her style is a mix of classic silhouettes, rocker chic, and sweet feminine touches for good measure.  

Alex reminds us that taking risks and combining unexpected pieces is a great way to create an outfit that feels completely, 100 percent YOU. - tweet it

I am so excited that she took the time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions on what makes her One. Stylish. Mama.

Introduce yourself and your awesome business:

Hi there! My name is Alexandra Evjen (people call me Alex), and I'm a fashion stylist and art director creating brand awareness for businesses through pin-worthy imagery. My business is called A.V.E. Styles, which are my initials, and I started it back in 2010. I live in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with my husband and two year old daughter.

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

 Before I was pregnant I didn't really have a defined style. I just wore whatever was on trend. During my pregnancy, I wore whatever was comfortable, especially in my third trimester in 100+ degree weather. After my pregnancy I noticed I had way more confidence, and my body had never looked better. It has been in the past two years that I have added a bit of a tomboy/rock flair to my wardrobe.

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

I think it was a combination of overalls, kimonos and hats that showed that there was a bit of an L.A. street style girl in me.

How has your business influenced your style?

I think being in fashion every single day has made me keenly aware of trends that are coming and trends that are going. I'm able to spot things from afar, and I'm also able to hold onto what looks good on me rather than sway from one extreme to another.

Where do you get your style inspiration from?  What style icons do you love?

Alexa Chung is my style icon. Everything from her hair to her makeup to her clothes...I adore it all. I even love her name. ;)

 What item of clothing or brand are you currently loving?

I am currently loving the simple, well made basics of Bailey 44. You can find their clothes in Nordstrom, and pretty much everything they make is affordable, well-made, sophisticated and has a bit of an edge.

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

We shop at H&M a lot for Elle. You would think I have an easy time shopping for my daughter, but she grows like a week and I always find myself out of clothes for her to wear. H&M has been such a lifesaver with offering affordable clothing that's stylish.

What is one thing you love about being a mom?

There are many things I love about being a mom, but the biggest thing I love is how I am better able to understand God's unconditional love for me. It was a big idea for me to grasp before being a mom, but now that I know what it's like to have unconditional love for my daughter it doesn't seem so far fetched that God loves me the same way.

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

How selfless you need to be to love your children well. I literally have to put my wants second to want is best for my family as a whole. It's haaaard!!! The sleep deprivation in the first three months of Elle's life was probably the second hardest thing.

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

classic, tomboy, boho

 Anything else about being a mom and style that you'd like to mention? 

 Do the best that you can and pray a lot. That's all you can do!

I mean... can she BE more real??  I love that being in fashion every day has made her appreciate clothes that aren't trendy for her wardrobe instead of the other way around.  Alex just posted a killer closet makeover on her blog that seriously has me swooning.  You KNOW how I feel about closet purges and makeovers. It's my favorite thing to do with my clients!  I could help people figure out all their closet woes all day long.  Which is why I created my upcoming closet course The Confident Closet.  Enter your email right here to be the first to get all the deets about this amaaaazing course.  Can't wait to show you more, but until then we will have to just go here to AVES Styles and drool over her new closet digs.






5 Bad Skin Care Habits That are Making your Skin Worse

Confession time!  I used to take the WORST care of my skin.  Believe me, it wasn’t because I didn’t break out or cause my skin was clear and perfect.  In fact, I had lots of issues with my skin.  So what was the issue?  I knew what I had to do and I just WASN’T DOING IT.  Why do you ask?! The answer is embarrassing and so, so true. 

I was lazy.

Yep, that’s it.  I was so freakin lazy that I would rather sleep than take care of my skin!  Then, one day I had a really bad break out.  It was “my lady time” and I was totally eating chocolate and wine and being super dramatic about it all.  My skin was a MESS.  The last… LAST thing I wanted to do was take care of my skin! 

We’ve all had these moments, but in this instant I decided to take matters into my own hands and not look back.  It was time to practice what I preached.  Sigh… doesn’t there always come a time in our lives where we realize we’ve been talking the talk and not walking the walk?  This was me with my skin.  Hands down. 

I am a firm believer that in order to feel confident we have to start with basics like this.  That if we start with the basics like hair, nails and especially our skin we are setting a foundation that allows us to soar with self-confidence.  That’s why in the first week of my course  “The Confident Closet” we start with the basics.  Not just talking about what they are, but how to do them on a regular, routine basis.  I live by this philosophy and have seen it change the lives of several friends, style blazers (aka my clients and HOH believers!), and anyone who will listen to me talk about it.  The concept is simple and life changing. 

When you feel confident in your clothes, who knows what you can accomplish? - Click to Tweet

Below are five of the most common skin habits that could be making your skin worse.  We all do them and with a little bit of discipline and some steady reminders (from sweet ladies like myself) you can make the change.  Your skin and overall confidence will thank you!

1) Touching your face.  You probably don’t even realize you are doing it.  The more you touch your face, the more dirt and grime you are essentially rubbing into your pores.  Gross.  Make sure your hands are clean when applying makeup or lotion as well. 

2) Popping Pimples.  I know it is BEYOND tempting to want to squeeze, touch, or pop that pimple.  But trust me, it ends up looking worse, hurting more and can leave a scar.  So even though you think you are remedying the situation you are actually just making it worse. 

3) Not Applying Sunscreen – Over the years we have become so lazy about applying sunscreen.  This does so much more then just preventing a burn.  Wearing sunscreen can help block harmful rays that will do long term damage.  I have learned to love the beach just as much under an umbrella or wearing sunscreen.  I know… that statement totally just aged me.  

4) Not removing makeup at the end of the day.  Ummm. Ok, I KNOW this one is hard.  In fact, even I have had my moments of “Forget it!  I’m too tired!”  Talk to any beauty expert and this is their number one piece of advice.   They all say that sleeping in your makeup can break down collagen (causing fine lines), clog pores and promote acne.

5) You aren’t drinking enough water.  Water really makes such a difference in so many parts of our body.  This is one of those daily practices that if you can make it a habit you can see a change pretty quickly.

So there you have it!  What is a daily practice you’ve been avoiding even though you KNOW it’s good for you?  Let’s all try a small experiment.  I want you to do this activity for one week.  No pressure, just to see if you notice a change.  Post your results below or on Facebook and Instagram using hastag #confidentcloset and tag @hohwithmelanie so I can help cheer you on!



Photo Cred - Melanie Duerkopp Photography and Hair & Makeup - Melissa Hoffman.


Are you taking clothes shopping too personally?

The other day, I was shopping with a friend and we came across an AMAZING dress.  On the hanger it was everything she wanted, interesting pattern, great length, a cut she usually loves… it had major hanger appeal.  We ran to the dressing room to see this beauty on her STAT.  


Once she had it on, it no longer was the dream dress we had created in our minds.  It was big in some places, smaller in others.  The print ended up looking too overwhelming on her body and even though it was a maxi dress... it was hitting her at a weird spot on her ankle.  Ugh, so frustrating!  As much as I tried to help my friend out of her shame spiral, I could tell she was disappointed.   Then she said something that made me stop.dead.in.my.tracks.  

She said “If only my boobs were bigger and I was shorter it would fit better.”

Have you ever found yourself criticizing your body because something didn’t fit you?

I hear this all the time from clients and friends and even women on tv.  I have something very important to tell you.  I want you to listen closely because this is really important.

It’s the CLOTHES not YOU.  – tweet it

Why is it that when a piece of clothing disappoints us or doesn’t look how we expected, we immediately wish to change our bodies?  It’s not you or anything you’ve done.  It really isn’t!  It’s just that this particular item of clothing isn’t made for your body.

When a designer decides to make something for a store like Anthropologie (for example), they have fit models come in and those fit models are what they base the shape off of.  Every item of clothing isn’t going to fit your body type unless you are the fit model or you are magic.  If a pair of pants is too long on you, you need to get them hemmed, not bash your body and say your legs are too short.  Get my drift?

There are three ways you can prevent this negative way of thinking from happening again the next time you go shopping:

1) Don’t have any expectations.  I know it’s hard.  I even find myself seeing something on a hanger or mannequin and getting excited.  There’s so much potential for awesomeness!  If possible, I’d like you to control your excitement.  Wait until you see it on yourself before you plan your next party in it.

2) Remember that clothes can be altered.  Somewhere along the line we all collectively decided that clothing has to fit perfectly off the rack.  I know it is an added expense, so when you buy the item, factor in the cost of altering it before you purchase.  This will make you head to the tailor quicker since the decision was already made (ence not having something in your closet that doesn’t fit.)  

3) Don’t dwell on something that doesn't work.  Something doesn’t fit?  Oh well.  Move on.  Don’t take it too personally.  Chances are you WILL find something else amazing if you aren’t still festering over “the little dress that couldn’t”.  I know it can be hard to snap out of a funk, but whatever you can do to move onto something else, the better.

I know this is a HUGE mind shift.  All I can ask you is to try and notice it.  The more aware you are of this, the less likely you are to let these negative thoughts take over. Is this is something you’ve caught yourself doing?  I’d love to hear, in the comments section below, if this is something that resonates with you.  You are beautiful, and there are tons of clothes that look gorgeous on you.   If that dress doesn’t work, on you, no harm, no foul. Promise girl.  

Shopping is one of the main topics we cover in my upcoming online closet rehab course: The Confident Closet.  That’s right, we talk about shopping in a closet course.  If we are overwhelmed shoppers, or we buy clothes that don’t work for us, our closet can become filled with clothes we don’t wear.  So frustrating!  If you want to be the first to know about this online course, sign up HERE.  You’ll get the scoop FIRST as well as added perks.  I know I’m totally biased but I highly recommend popping your email onto this list ladies!



Photo Cred - Krista Marie Photography and Hair and Makeup - Melissa Hoffman 



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!




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"! 



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

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