I hope that you find this story very inspiring; I know it has helped so many young women who have been faced with pregnancy at a young age. I have told my story to so many people, and get the same reaction every time. It brings tears to my eyes, still till this day.
I started out with the odds stacked against me: I dropped out of high school, and when I was just eighteen years old, I found out that I was pregnant. I had only known the man who had gotten me pregnant for four months, and we had actually stopped talking before I found out that I was pregnant, so telling him was something I was not prepared to do. I called him over and over again, but he never returned my calls. I finally told his mother the next time she answered the phone. He called me and the first thing out of his mouth was, “So do you need money for an abortion, or what”? I had no idea what I was going to do, and knew that I was in this alone.
A few weeks went by, which were weeks of confusion and sadness for me. I finally decided that I was going to have an abortion. I didn’t want to do this alone, and didn’t feel that I could. I lived with my parents, and felt like I was still just a child myself. I didn’t have money for the procedure and did not want to call the man who got me pregnant. I already had harsh feelings towards him, due to the way he had treated me. So, I called my high school sweetheart (my ex). He and I ended things on good terms, as he went off into the military. He understood my position and agreed to lend me money for the procedure. He mailed me a cashier’s check for $460 - which is what the cost was back then. The second I got the money, I made an appointment at the clinic.
The day of my appointment is a day that I will NEVER forget. I got up and got ready. My mother knew where I was headed, and what my intentions were. She was SO against it, and begged me not to go. As I was walking out the door, she fell to her knees in front of me and gripped onto my legs. She begged me to keep this baby, and told me that she would help me raise him/her. I told her that this was MY life and MY decision, and proceeded to walk out the door.
I pulled up for my appointment and was rushed by protestors. They were knocking on my car window and holding up signs at me. I pulled into a parking spot as a protestor ran over and handed me a brochure. I tried to ignore them as I walked into the clinic. I was SO scared and nervous. I will never forget the feeling that I had that day. When the receptionist called my name, I walked up to the window and was handed paperwork to fill out. I also had to pay for the procedure. I handed her the cashier’s check. She told me that she couldn’t take this type of payment. She directed me to the bank down the street, so I left the clinic and drove down to the bank. I pulled up to the bank teller, and was told by the bank that they couldn’t cash it either. I was directed to another bank down the street. I went to that bank, and was told NO again!
River & Pool Shoot (on Location) - September 2013
I remember pulling over and crying. I thought to myself, “OK GOD, I’m listening. This is your plan, not mine!”. I started driving back home, crying the whole way there. I will never forget walking into the house. My mother was sitting in pure silence at the kitchen table with her head down. I remember her looking up at me and saying, “You couldn’t do it, could you?. I know you couldn’t because I PRAYED the whole time you were gone”. I told her what happened and we sat there hugging, and crying. The next day I went to another bank and guess what, THEY CASHED THE CHECK. I will never forget the power of God I felt at that very moment. I took that money and bought a bunch of baby clothes with it.
Boudoir Shoot (Mpls Studio) - February 2020
My story gets even more chilling throughout the years as it was nothing but learning by experiences and heartache.
During my pregnancy I was pretty much alone when it came to the father of my child. He didn’t see me one time, or come to one appointment. I bonded with my child through a book. I decided that writing my feelings down in a notebook would help me get through this, and it did. I started a 100 page notebook and dedicated it to my baby. I wrote to him about everything in that book, including my deepest feelings. I kept track of my weight gain, my doctors appointments, his progress, his heart beats; everything. Now that book is a treasure. It is the most sentimental thing he will ever have from me. I gave it to him when he turned eighteen years old. So many emotions went into that book, without it I don’t think I would have made it through so easily.
The day of my delivery was planned, because he was TEN days late. LOL. I was induced on Feb 28th. It was the year of Leap Year. I told the doctor that I do NOT want to have my baby on the 29th. He assured me that I wouldn’t. He said, “It's 7am. You will have this baby today”. Well, guess what, I didn’t. LOL. He was born at 3:23 am in Feb 29th, 1996. My little leap year baby. ❤
My baby and I went back home to my parents’ house and started our lives together. Part of me wanted to be with his father, for obvious reasons. I felt I owed it to my child to at least try and work it out. So, I agreed to start dating him again. We moved in with him when my son was a year old. At that time in his life he was partying and experimenting with drugs. I was NOT interested in having my child around that, so I picked my son up and moved back in with my parents. My son’s father comes from money, I did not. My parents and I lived in a trailer. They both worked full time jobs and struggled often. I lived with my parents until my son was about two years old, and then got my own place. It was in Section 8 housing, but it was my own, so I was happy.
Shoot in the Snow (Mpls) - December 2014
However, I was looked down on by so many. My son's father being one of them. He made me feel so low for living there. Even after living there and getting used to having our own place, there was a moment in time that I wanted my son's father back in my life. I begged him to be with us, but he refused. He told me that I wouldn’t amount to anything in life. I lived in Section 8 housing (the ghetto is what he called it). He then married another woman. They would come pick my son up in their nice cars and look down on me. I remember feeling so low.
I KNEW there was something bigger for me, and I was going to find it through GOD. I have always wanted to make others happy and to change lives. I just didn’t know how I was going to do that. I was going from job to job and wasn’t stable yet, until one day everything changed.
Shoot in the Snow (Rooftop Mpls Studio) - December 2014
I decided that I was going to clean up my life and make something for my son and I. I didn’t graduate high school, had no money, and my credit was SO bad. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I was ready for it. I prayed so hard for God’s guidance and was led into my journey. I started school to become an appraiser, and when through internship for eighteen months. I started my own company two years later, and was heading in the right direction.
All-American Girl - July 2012
Then, I met a man who I later married and had a daughter with. I divorced him twelve years later. He wasn’t a very good influence to have around my kids. He was drinking, doing drugs, and had a temper. He hit me more than once, and went to jail for it several times. My kids witnessed so many fights. Prior to my divorce, I decided to separate from him, hoping that would make him see the light and change. He moved back in after three months, promising me that he would never hit me again. We bought our first house together in 2009. However, three years after purchasing our home, I filed for divorce. He did keep that promise and didn’t hit me again, BUT would punch holes in the walls, throw things, and put us in an environment that I didn’t want to stay in with my kids. He moved out and we’ve been apart ever since; ten years now. My daughter came from that marriage, which I will be forever thankful for.
However, I was again FACED with a huge life changing event. When my daughter was in 6th grade she told me something that changed my life forever!!!! She sat all of us down; me, her dad, her brother and her sister. She told us that she likes girls. I will never forget that moment. Let me explain something to you about me. I was SO against gay people. I was that person who judged people for being gay. I felt very strongly that it was wrong. I wouldn’t even want to be in the same room with gay people. That is how strongly I felt about it. When I was faced with this in my own home, it humbled me tremendously. I was NOW going to be the mom standing at the front line, protecting my child against the HATE in the world. The second she told me, I started crying; not because I was ashamed of her, but because I was ashamed of myself. I knew firsthand how others felt about gay people. I was afraid that she would be picked on or possibly harmed. That moment in my life has made me love her even more. She has become my best friend.
Some Fun Shots (Mpls Studio) - January 2018
On a recent Mother’s Day, she gave me a card that she handmade, thanking me for being there for her when not many others were. My heart is SO OPEN now, and without judgement. My job is to love and accept her, also to pull her closer to her Heavenly Father, in any way that I can. She is such an amazing person, and started working the second she turned sixteen. I told her whatever she saved for a car, I would match. This kid saved 5k. I didn’t see that coming! LOL So, we went and put 10k down on her car, and she paid the rest in payments. She has money saved, worked through high school, maintained an honor roll, and is now graduated. She is attending college to become a police officer. Carole is all about helping others, and making other people feel good. Her heart is never ending. She is another blessing in my life that has taught me a very big lesson.
By this time, I was running my appraisal business and doing well for myself, but still felt that there was something bigger coming. I could feel it, with all of my heart!!! After my divorce, I started dating a man who was EVERYTHING you’d want your daughter to date, so it seemed. A year after dating him, I moved my kids in with him and sold my house. It ended up being a nightmare. He slowly took over my life without me even knowing. He controlled my every move, and watched my every "like" and post on Facebook. I moved out three months later. I moved my kids around a lot after this. I ended up getting back together with him, thinking that his controlling ways would change, until I found myself beat up pretty badly by him. I will never forget that night. I thought that I was going to die in the hands of a man I loved. I was slammed onto the floor seven or eight times before being slammed against metal coat hooks, then thrown out onto the deck like a piece of garbage. I remember closing my eyes and praying to God to hold me and protect me during this fight. I had to see my kids again. I couldn’t die like this. After being thrown on the deck, I walked to my town house, three miles away, with a broken toe.
Boudoir Shoot (Maple Plain Studio) - July 2012
This was a horrible time in my life. I remember waking up the next morning take pictures of my bruised body. I had bruises from my head to my feet. I wanted stability more than anything, and prayed about it so many times. God had a different path for me, however. I was engaged to two different men, after the one who beat me up. One of the men would have given me the world. He put my kids and I in a 700k house and put a 40k ring on my finger after just three months of dating him. I was so in love with the “idea” of this amazing life, that I accepted the proposal. I ended up leaving that relationship almost two years later. My friends, and everyone around me called me CRAZY!! I would be asked questions like, “What are you thinking? He can give you things that you will never have”. So basically I was being told to stay for MONEY, and not LOVE. I refused, plus I KNEW that I WOULD HAVE those things, on my own and in God's time. I left the engagement and moved my kids and I into a small town house. I know it was hard on them and that they hated it, but I also knew it was the right thing to do. I was showing my children to never stay in any situation for wrong reasons, and to always trust in God that he has you on the right path, regardless of what ANYONE THINKS!! People will also have something to say, and will be quick to judge you.
The second man that I was engaged to was after a year of dating him, and after I had already invented my products (more on that in a bit). I was heading into production at this time. He started saying things to me like, “I hope you lose your ass on your dumb switch”, and “Your son isn’t going to amount to shit”, and “Oh its so easy for you. You’re so godly”, and “You think it’s so easy starting a company, just wait“. Words like these cut me deep. Deeper than he ever knew, because what he just said about my son was said to me when I was my son's age!!!!! I was even more determined now!!! I also called off the engagement.
Back to when I thought of my invention:
The moment that the idea for my invention came to mind, I knew THIS WAS IT. I could feel it. This was the moment my life was about to change. I had no idea what to do or how to even start something like that. I remember praying to God to take the wheel, and to guide me towards all the right people, and away from the wrong ones. He has done just that. He has protected my products and put me with the right people. He has also taken the wrong people out of the equation. This was something much bigger that had landed in my lap, bigger than I could do alone. Here I am almost 6 years later, with several patents around the world. I was granted an international patent, which I was told is almost impossible to get. Once again, it was God!!! I am currently in production with two new light switches, and in development with five others. I am also working on a cell phone case!
Yes, Melissa's a Packers' Fan (but we won't hold it against her!)
I named my company (products) LueMelit. [You can find LueMelit on Facebook]. The meaning of the name is more than people know. Lue, in the urban dictionary means WHOLE, UNIVERSE. This was my way of putting God into the company name. Mel, is for Melissa. Lit, the light switches light up. ❤ I sit back and think of the past twenty-four years from when my son was brought into this world. I knew God had a plan, and his plan was something bigger than I could imagine. He has blessed me and seen me through more than most people will ever go through. I stood tall and didn’t give up. I never gave up the hope of knowing that God’s plan is his, NOT mine. All the times I stood alone, and was looked down on for having nothing in life, and for living in Section 8 housing. All the times I cared for my son alone, while wanting his dad in my life. Hearing his dad tell me that I wasn’t going to amount to anything, and seeing how much I’ve amounted to thus far!! My son is and was the BEST gift that I have ever been given. He changed my world, and made me who I am today. He is all grown up now, and on my real estate team, working side by side with me.
Business Shots throughout the Years
I went from being a high school dropout, having a baby and living in Section 8 housing, to inventing a light switch that will be sold around the world. I am also in the top 1% of real estate agents in my state. I know with all of my heart that ALL of it is because of my faith in God. Where we are or where we start in life DOES NOT define us. It’s our faith that does! God's timing never fails. The path that we are on is one big test of faith. I will forever give God glory for everything I am. I was able to surprise my mother with a new car four years ago. I put a big red bow on the hood. She still cries till this day. She is poor and not used to things like I’ve been given. My mother is also terminally ill. She only has a year or so left with us. I pray to God that she will be here to see my products launch, because I would love nothing more than to surprise her with her dream home next. Making other people happy is something I will do until my time is done here, and through God I will be able to do just that. He is the reason I succeed. I want every young woman to know that just because you are faced with obstacles, due to bad decisions doesn’t make that your end, its actually just the beginning. God forgives and has the POWER to redirect!! A bad marriage, an abusive relationship, and mistakes we make are stones to our foundation, not the entire brick wall.
Family Shoot (Mpls Studio) - July 2020
Another small piece of information that you don’t know about me. When I was seventeen, I was scouted by a modeling agency, and was picked out of hundreds of girls. They had me take photos, free of charge. I will never forget that. It was in the middle of an alley. I thought I was going to be a super model. LOL. That was once a dream of mine. I lost sight of that dream because I was young, started drinking, hanging out with friends and got pregnant. I let that dream go, BUT always felt like I was good enough to be in modeling. After I had my first shoot with Sugar and Spice Photography at the age of thirty-five, I felt more beautiful than I did when I was seventeen. You gave that back to me, and I have been holding onto it ever since. I am no where near done yet. I am here to leave my mark in this world, and show every other woman that they CAN to!
Thanks for the interest in my story,
Does you EVER age??? It's fun to see your shoots spanning 8 years - from 2012 to 2020. ALWAYS loved the time we got to spend with you - being creative with props, locations, and more!
We are so proud of the woman and entrepreneur you've become and can't wait to see what the future holds for you! Love & miss you!
xoxo, the Sugar & Spice Girls
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