fashion blogger mara Hoffman

Happy Monday Friends! Thank you for stopping by my blog and spending time with me! I can’t believe I’m sitting here writing my first official blog post!! I’ve been dreaming about this moment and drafted up so many different version of first official posts in my head for as long as I could remember! So let’s get to it, shall we?

1. My real name is Mengxuan Hou (yep, I know what you are thinking, that looks like someone just randomly threw some letters together). Mengxuan is my Chinese name, it’s actually two words. Meng (梦) means dream, Xuan (旋) means melody. Since my dad was a composer and my mom was a western opera singer, they wanted their little girl to remind them of the beautiful melodies in their dreams (cue the sentimental background music). Leave it to my artistic parents to make an ordinary name sound so dreamy (pun intended) and poetic. My first nanny Laura named me Angel, she was the first person I met who studied English in college. She decided to give me an English name so I can be one of the cool Chinese kids who had a foreign name. She said I had rosy chubby cheeks and was always so well-behaved and respectful, so I reminded her of an angel. So y’all I’m basically perfection (totally kidding guys), imagine little angel child playing dream melody on a harp in a garden filled with pink peonies…. Yep that’s me! lol..

2. I was born and raised in China, and spent most of my childhood in Beijing. After graduating from high school, I packed two giant suitcases along with my hopes and the American dream, came to the United States and landed in Portland, OR, wide eyed and bushy tailed. I started my adult life and met most of my best friends in Portland. Portland will always have a special place in my heart because of the wonderful people and the most breathtaking sceneries, but it never felt like home. I love the hustle and bustle of big cities, the neon lights and the soaring skylines. They always gave me this rush and heart pounding excitement, yet surprisingly, a sense of calmness at the same time. I felt all of that every time I visited Chicago, and for some reason, Chicago always felt like home (yes even after the polar vertex turned me into a human popsicle). I requested to transfer to the Chicago office with my company, and again, I bought a one way ticket to Chicago in 2013 and the rest was history.

3. I have a 4 year old daughter, her name is Millie. She is beautiful, sensitive and such a little jokester. She is absolutely the light of my world, and I am going to do a separate post of 10 things about Millie, so you all can get to know more about my little nugget.

4. I suffered from postpartum depression for almost 4 years. Writing that down now and speaking about it still make me burst into tears. It was one of the most devastating times of my life. I remember laying in bed not knowing how I can make it through one more day without feeling completely lost, hopeless and that Millie deserves a better mom than me. After working with my wonderful therapist for two and a half years, luckily I recovered. However, I know there are still so many moms out there who are still suffering from this horrible illness. I made it a mission for my blog to be a platform to share my personal experience and bring more awareness to maternal mental health, because EVERY MOM MATTERS! I will be posting more about this topic in the coming months. I hope you will leave me comments, join the discussion and share your personal stories with me. I would love to hear for you.

5. I love Coco Chanel. That pretty much sums up my style. I love classic feminine styles with clean lines and neural colors. Tweet jackets, pearls, curve hugging dresses and sky high heels are a few things I cannot live without. I am not a trend chaser and don’t follow the trends unless I personally like it, and wholeheartedly believe in quality over quantity. That’s why most of my friends are surprised to see how small my closet is and I don’t have nearly as many shoes and bags as they imagined. It sometimes took me days to make a single purchase. I always ask myself “will I like this in 10 years and will I wear this again in 10 years”. I know 10 years is a really long time, I’m being a little over dramatic, but you get the idea. ?

6. Fitness is one of the most important part of who I am. I am extremely competitive with myself, so fitness is such a positive outlet for me to channel my competitiveness. I do vigorous HIIT style weight training with a coach twice a week, megaformer pilates twice a week and try to make it to SoulCycle for some good music and cardio blast once a week. When I was in my early 20s, I worked out because I wanted a toned body and look hot in dresses. However, what I’ve realized through my struggles with postpartum depression was that working out was such a crucial component in my journey to recovery, it not only made me realize how strong my body is, but more importantly, it made me realize the power of my mind, and my mind is tough AF.

7. I am fiercely loyal to my loved ones like a true Leo. If you ask me what is the one attribute that I am most proud of myself. I would without hesitation tell you that it’s my loyalty. I was raised in a very close knit family with strong values. Everyone always showed up for each other, so I do the same for those whom I love the most, I show up, support them and stick with them through the good times and the bad.

8. I am an extroverted introvert through and through. I might seem like a little chatter box and looking all cheery and happy at a social gathering, but I am dying a slow death inside from all the small talk (again with the over-dramatization ?), but in all seriousness, I get so nervous and exhausted from meeting new people and being social that I usually need a full day to recover afterwards. I prefer small intimate gatherings with very few close friends. Somedays I could literally be by myself without talking to anyone for a week and be happy as a clam. I am fully aware that I just made myself sound like a loner who might have a hidden dungeon with dark secrets, but whatever, I’m owning my shit, and now you might think I’m dark and mysterious! Intrigue! see what I did there? ?

9. I was trained classically in Piano, reached Level 10 and competed multiple times and hated every minute of it. Aside from my family, nobody really knows that I play the piano. Both of my parents were musicians so I didn’t really have a choice but play the piano. I would say that I had zero talent in piano, reaching level 10 is by pure hard work and countless soul sucking hours of practice. I also have terrible stage fright, so every time I competed, I felt like I was going to throw up and my body was going to shut down. I always joke with my parents that I think I have PTSD from playing and competing. I vowed that I would never force my daughter to play an instrument if she has no interest in it. It’s a complete waste of everyone’s time and sanity when you pursue something you are not passionate about.

10. I don’t have a Chinese accent when I speak English. I always get asked why I didn’t have a Chinese accent considering I came to the States as an adult. I think the Titanic and the Backstreet Boys can take all the credit. I remember during Senior year in high school, I used to sit in my room on the weekends listening to all the Backstreet Boys’ greatest hits, or reciting each line from the Titanic, I would record my own voice, replay and compare my accent to the movie to a make sure that if there was ever one day I was going to meet and marry either Leonardo DiCaprio or Nick Carter, I would whisper sweet nothings to them in the most perfect American accent. Well that plan didn’t really work out for me, but at least I can fake an American accent pretty darn well. You win some you lose some, right?! Leo, whenever you are done with the supermodels, a humble Chinese girl is still waiting for you! ?

Thanks so much for reading!

Much Love,



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