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Dressing Your Beautiful ‘Bump’

One of my darling girlfriends just broke some exciting news that she’s having her first baby!!! I just know she is going to be so beautiful pregnant!

 Her only complain was that I wasn’t around to take her shopping, so I promised to blog about some funky fashion tips especially for her! 

 So here goes:

 With everything changing around you, from your body to your lifestyle, the one thing you can stay true to is your personal style. So what if you have a little person growing inside you, you can learn to dress your little bump while being true to yourself.

The Boho chic:

 Stay cool with maxi and those ever so cool peasant dresses that you can just throw on the days you feel bloated.  Some oversized jewellery and a hat to beat the heat (or bad hair days) and you are rockin’ the look.

The denim girl:

 If you are a jeans girl, I am sure you wouldn’t want to give them up even for a few months. It’s your signature look, right?  So invest in some pregnancy denims with those nice flexible broad bands and they will carry through your entire term! Pair them with some girly tops or go rock chic with a leather jacket… just stay true to your look and you will be most comfortable. 

My personal favourite the “Empire Line Dress”:

This look can go from day casual to evening glam. Yes you can look absolutely glamorous even in your heaviest final days. The empire line, shows off the smallest of your waist (yes you still have one!) and that beautiful ample bust line. I promise you will feel absolutely sexy, beautiful and womanly in this number.  

Wrapping around:

The wrap dress is only second to the empire line.  A beautiful wrap dress is great to take you from work and dinner. You can wear this one throughout your pregnancy – all you have to do is just keep changing where you knot the dress. The dress keeps growing with you and gives a beautiful shape all the time. 

Leggin’s:

If it’s too hot for denims, all you gotta do is switch to maternity leggings. They can be as cool as denims (cooler in fact)! Pair these with some flowy tops and little printed dresses and you are ready to go. Comfy and funky all in one. 

Accessories:

I know you probably don’t want to spend too much on a maternity wardrobe; so all you have to do is change the accessories with the season. Stay on trend with scarves, bags, jewellery, hats, sunnies. Chunky bold colourful jewellery will add style and a ‘cool’ factor to your look. The bigger you are the more chunky the jewellery.. it’s all about creating balance.  Get some pretty coloured ballerinas to add some colour to your look. 

Lets talk about colour:

Please don’t do black to look slim. It’s BORING!! You are pregnant, you are going to be big and round… enjoy it! Have fun with it! Wear ‘your’ colours. Treat yourself to a colour session, so you know which colours love you back.  You will feel assured about what you are wearing and can step out confidently in ‘your’ colours. 

All in all, enjoy your new body, be healthy, love your little bump and just be true to your inner style diva.

Loads of BIG hugs … xx 

Back to Basics (Part II)

A girl must have her own basics; timeless pieces that you love and that love you back no matter the season or the trend! 

In my previous post I talked about getting your basics right with timeless staples for your wardrobe. Today I share my list of accessories that are just as ridiculously essential as your ABCs. 

Black Pumps (or in my case stilettos) … You already know why it’s important. It’s a pair that you can fall back on anytime, all the time. Like a best friend, you just must have one.  

Going Nude -  kitten heels or flats .. for the days when you just want to give the heels a break. Perfect with your skinnies or a pretty sundress.  Even a heels lover like me needs a little rest sometimes. 

Make a Statement …  I am a bag lady. For me, a bag is an investment. A statement bag can dress up and bring an outfit up-to-date instantly. No, it does not have to be super expensive, but if you can afford to save for one and treat yourself to a nice bag, you should. 

Watch it … In the recent years I’ve started wearing chunky man watches. I think they look pretty cool with office, evening wear or casuals. It just adds a bit of edge to your outfit.

Clutch / Cross body … I think if you find a cross body bag that doubles as clutch you’ve got a winner. I have this really stylish Ted Baker leather cross body with a gold chain which I can use either ways.  My very own convertible! It’s a great 2-in-1 when you travel!

Sunnies … As the sun shines, you need your funky sunnies.  Don’t just follow a trend – find a pair that compliments your face. 

Belt x 2 ..  One in Tan and one in your favorite colour. Remember you don’t have to go matchy-matchy with belt and shoes. Get daring mix your colours and create fun combinations.  Belts help to accentuate your waist and give you that hour-glass look

Statement Necklace ..  Interchangeable with everything in the wardrobe. Dresses, shirts, tee, anything and everything. Own the look and make a statement. 

Flip Flops … for when I want to show off my pedi in my sundress! Nothing says relaxed and laid back like a pair of flip flops don’t you agree? 

Tying it all together… A beautiful scarf can really pop your look. Put in a pop of colour or just dare to colour clash. Whatever your style, you can go classic or funky with this piece of accessory. 

So that’s my must have list … things that you will always find in my wardrobe.

Understanding your staples also helps you pack easily for holidays and trips. These are pieces in your wardrobe that are completely interchangeable for creating different looks … Have fun experimenting xx 

Going back to basics … (Part I)

Although I am a self confessed shopaholic, I have never been a fashion slave. I always pick and choose the trends I want to follow depending on how they can flatter my body shape, style and personality.  Most of all, I pick trends that can compliment my existing wardrobe… 

A girl for all seasons! A perfect wardrobe for me is the one where I can mix and match my basics with the season’s trends to create a new fresh look every time. I love to invest in pieces in that will stay with me for a long time and things that I can just update as trends that come and go.  

Get your basics right and you can build your trendy wardrobe from there..I have 20 wardrobe basics that I just couldn’t live without. Part I focuses on clothes and in Part II I will share MY must-have accessories … so here goes …

1. What lies beneath….  For me the most important and basic wardrobe staple is great fitting underwear. Wearing the right underwear for your shape and size is THE most important element of looking great. So if you haven’t done this already, go get yourself fitted and check if you are wearing the correct size!

        

2. Black (trousers) is back  … actually it never went anywhere.  You can take this hot number from the office to party wear. Well, Angelina Jolie just wore hers to the BAFTA!!  A definite keeper

3. All Wrapped up…  I can promise you a wrap dress is one piece of clothing that will stand the test of time with you. It looks great on all body shapes and as we go bigger and smaller and then bigger again., it will be your faithful companion. Wear it to work or dress it up for the evening .. Invest in a good quality dress in ‘your’ colours and you’ve got a winner!!

4. The perfect denims – Every girl must have a pair that fits her perfectly. You know the ones you can wear with a tee, a pretty girly blouse or a blazer.  A true blue is a timeless casual … 

5. Oh so sexy leathers.. I absolutely LOVE leather jackets. (Ok I confess I have several) But if I only have to pick one it will have to be a black leather jacket that I know I can wear anytime anywhere. So splurge out on a good jacket because like you, it will only get better with age! 

6. L-(Your colour)-D … If your wrap dress is your LBD, life just couldn’t be better! I know everyone goes on about the LBD, but I think if you find a Little Dress, whatever the colour, that fits you like a dream, buy 2! It does NOT have to be black. Break the rules… it’s more fun! 

7. That Tailored Jacket .. A well-fitted jacket is an investment piece that you can wear with everything in your wardrobe.  A work staple that instantly smartens up any look. I love pairing my denims or shorts with my tailored jacket it just completes me :) 

8. Tee time – A white t-shirt is basic as basic can be. It’s a wardrobe must have and it’s a base for layers … jewellery, jacket, cardigan, scarves and anything else you want to throw on it. 

9. Dress Shirt .. I don’t like cotton shirts because I am quite curvy and they just don’t fit well on me. Instead a nice soft dress shirt with French cuffs is more my style as it falls beautifully over my curves.

10. Summer Days… calls for a girly flirty summer dress. It’s a dress I just can’t do without. I love a colourful BRIGHT dress that just screams summer fun.

The last month of packing, moving and living out of my suitcase helped me re-think what exactly I need to take and what I need to ship. My basics came with me and putting different looks together for the last 3 weeks has never been so easy. From formal meetings to dinners to casual day out; (Melbourne also having 4 seasons in one day) getting my basics right has helped me just mixing and matching and having fun!!! 

Hope you enjoyed it! 

Stay tuned for Part II on basic accessories … xx

Discovering New Horizons…

“The Secret of Change is to Focus ALL of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” - Socrates

 As my bags are unloaded from the car, I choke up saying goodbye to one of my best friends who has driven us to the airport.  It’s a sudden realisation that I am not just off on a holiday, I am leaving a city I called home for such a long time and I won’t be seeing my friends for a while.

 The flight is an emotional one, filled with anticipation of a new life, excitement of a whole new world and lots of heartache and sadness, for leaving my friends and family behind. 

We arrive in Melbourne early morning and immediately find this city and it’s people warm and welcoming. I have already received a message from a friend of a friend in Melbourne welcoming us and suggesting a catch up as soon as we’ve settled. WOW! 

The last week has been pretty amazing. Just discovering the city a little at a time… Melbourne is full of  lanes,  quirky bars, funky cafes that serve delicious healthy meals, beautiful green gardens and streets filled with eateries with cuisines all over the world! This city is so vibrant and bustling with people from all walks of life living together and enjoying what the city has to offer.

I am just about settling into the groove of this beautiful and wonderful city… I am so enjoying getting to know it a little at a time. In only one week, I have met some pretty fun and lovely people who have made us feel so at home and at ease.

Today I visited the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival … so much beautiful energy all around, people sharing a laugh and just happy to be enjoying the sunshine. It’s a long weekend and I intend to make the most of it… I am now off to try a Greek Restaurant around the corner.  And tomorrow after a whole week of cheating I am back to yoga! 

Change is always daunting… I miss my friends and family and my life in Dubai, but I think change also means I am growing, I am living, I am evolving…

I know this move will challenge me at times, but I know it will also bring out the best in me; and I am looking forward to it.                 

 My little mantra… one day at a time …

 xx

Being Mowgli….

The Jungle Book was the very first ‘cinema’ movie or the first movie I actually recall my parents taking me to. I think it was there that I fell in love with Mowgli and his free spirit (I actually looked like a Mowgli then!)…and it was there that the wanderlust seed was first planted. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to travel the world and live ‘everywhere’ and have Mowgli like adventures and be free…..  

I have been blessed and very fortunate to travel through about 62 cities around the world. And yet, the more I travel, the more I feed this wanderlust, the more I hunger for it. So after 13 years I have finally the courage to move yet again to a land far far away and start a whole new adventure…..

 This farewell to Dubai is long over-due I think and I am nostalgic as I write this blog today. 

I arrived in Dubai, a wide-eyed 22 year old. I formed a great friendship with this city that I have called home for so long. Like new friends we started off with great chemistry, I knew I wanted to stay from the very first moment I set foot here. We discovered each other’s quirks and learnt to live with them… sometimes disagreeing and making up and falling out and making up again …but always keeping that bond of friendship alive.

It is in this city that I fell in love, formed beautiful friendships, built a career, got married, travelled the world, discovered great cuisines and took the leap to form Simply Be. Time has come to say goodbye… but not forever I am sure… I know I will see you again.

A BIG Thank-You to all my incredible friends who have made Dubai home for us. Thank you for always supporting my crazy ideas and cheering me on…

It’s time to find the Mowgli in me again and go off on a whole new adventure. I will miss you all and I carry you with me everywhere I go ..

 

With all my heart,

Ingrid … xxxx 

Staying Focused while Spinning Around…

I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I quit corporate life and took the plunge (head first) into the unknown. Armed with only my new found courage from NLP, Richard Branson’s ‘Screw it Just Do It’, my idea for a business AND most importantly my passion and excitement to do something new!  Did I have a business plan? Hell no! 

I remember last February when the idea to quit my day job started to become a waking dream, I was asked ‘So what exactly do you want to do?’  And out came the immediate reply, ‘I want to help people help themselves’. I got a raised eyebrow and a ‘are you being serious’ look. I knew there were many of those to come… so all I did was smile.  I had my idea, it was mine, my own. 

I hadn’t had a name for my business just yet. I knew it had to be something encouraging, like, being the best you can be, living life’s full potential, being what you were meant to … and then finally it just came, Simply Be!  I was so excited I just went with it.. 

 When I worked at Standard Chartered I did a Strength Finder analysis and my top two strengths came out as Achiever and Activator. So basically when I have an idea, I have to go with it. I feel it in my gut, I feel in my heart and then I just go for it. I don’t see anything but the goal I’ve set out. So here I was … domain name, email address and business card (after loads of scribbles and drafts) in hand. What next?

 Well, there were many people around me who questioned and re-questioned my decision to leave a successful career. There were many negative comments and some down right snickering as well. Was it hard? Oh yes.  Some self doubts did creep in some nights… but my heart was set. And I always follow my heart (that’s what got me to Dubai in the first place!) 

And then things started to happen… happen so very fast… I was spinning.. 

So here’s how I focused on and achieved my year 1 goals! 

I surrounded myself with friends I knew I could count on. People who believed in my idea, my dream and cheered me on.  People I knew would support me even if thing’s didn’t go as planned… and most of all people I could have a laugh with, who’d laugh with me rather than at me! 

Opened my heart and mind.  I believed in the best of people. I reached out to other women entrepreneurs and asked for advice. ‘Are you free for a cuppa and chat’ I said. 90% of them I didn’t know! 90% of those responded and gave me some great advice.  I asked for help humbly and I got it. 

I said YES. If someone asked me for my time, or asked to come along to networking session or try something new or meet new people or discuss an idea or just meet for chat … I SAID YES. It was incredible. Suddenly new doors were opening up all around me. New opportunities at every turn. I was crazy busy just meeting interesting and amazing people. 

I said NO. If something or someone just didn’t feel right to me or if I was over committing … I SAID NO. That’s the beauty of being your own boss. Saying no is so powerful and it really is the first step to being true to you. 

Learning on the go…  I had no idea what social media was. I wasn’t even on Facebook.   I learnt everything from twitter to Pintrest to instagram just by asking questions and giving it shot.  Always learning, trial and error, not taking things too seriously and just having fun with it. 

And finally being true to who I am. Whenever self-doubt kicks in and things are not moving fast enough, or I am frustrated, I remember those wise words from the HELP. ‘You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important.’ I take a step back and remember why I started this in the first place. I write and post things that really matter to me that inspire and motivate and help. And also realising that Facebook likes and followers don’t really have to matter, as long as I do what I do and I do it well. 

Well, the world has it distractions and it’s easy to get swept away in all the confusion. Staying focused is going back to basics. To remembering why you do what you do. What really fuels that passion and what gives you most happiness. To me it is that moment when my client has found a lost confidence, when someone tells me I’ve helped change their life, or when a client just calls to say thank you because she can finally just Simply Be.

To you .. Straight from the heart. Thank you for a wonderful 1st year.

Hope you enjoyed the read. x

No Stress Distressed Jeans….

There’s nothing like a great pair of jeans that fit you like a dream. You know, the ones that you just can’t let go and they stay in your wardrobe no matter what.  I have a pair that I absolutely can’t get enough of.  It’s taken a beating through the years though and I just recently converted them into my brand new very own DIY distressed jeans!  

My DIY inspiration was this cool video from Leaf TV. http://www.leaf.tv/videos/how-to-distress-your-denim.aspx .. all you need is a razor, sandpaper, a small cardboard, a pencil and scissors. VIOLA!  

Here’s my weekend ensemble. It’s always heels for me and these red Michael Kors are perfect to pop the classic white tee and blue denim look. 

I love that distressed jeans can rock any look.. you can bring out your inner rock chic to tom boy to sophisticated diva to just pain old cool. Here’s a little inspiration from our celebs on the go…

Meeting your new beau for drinks? Team your distressed skinnies with a pretty top and you are all set.  Girly and edgy all wrapped in one! 

Slouchy and well worn… Here’s a prefect look to catch up with the girls for lunch and shopping on a lazy afternoon. 

Mommy on the go? Not a problem. Chambray shirt with flats and you are ready for whatever the day may bring! 

                                 

Get Diva-licious. Distressed skinnies teamed with blazer, stilettos and oversized sunnies. Lets not forget a statement bag! 

Gwen Stefani = ultra cool. I mean business and am too cool to fit in! I love everything about this look and best part of it all is, it just looks as if she’s thrown it on without even thinking about it… LOVE!! 

Effortless casual chic… Fancy an afternoon of window-shopping and a movie? 

And finally here’s our ‘real life’ stylish mommy on go. Boyfriend jeans, vest top, flats to run around in and she finishes it off with hat (this is specially handy for those bad hair days, she says to me!) Perfect outfit for a day of getting that ‘to-do’ list sorted! 

So get on it….  Have a DIY fun weekend. 

xx

Pretty in Pleats

Sorry I’ve been away for a while. I’ve just been busy getting myself sorted. 2014 is another year full of changes for me and things are really hectic my end … more on that coming soon.

For now, I’d like to talk about this fun photoshoot I did with my friend and top photographer Maria Sundin. Armed with our gear we headed out to DIFC at the crack of dawn! It was a beautiful morning and we enjoyed the silence of DIFC before the crowds came rushing in. We shot different SS2014 looks for a magazine called Salt ‘n’ Peppa. This pleated midi skirt is one of my favourite looks for the season. 

A classic come back. Donned by the likes of Grace Kelly & Elizabeth Taylor this is true 1950’s chic.  

I’ve teamed my midi with a light knit sweater with embellished collar from Ted Baker and accessorised with Lady Dior and Ted Baker booties. It screams old Hollywood Glam doesn’t it? 

I am so into headbands’ these days, it’s my new obsession. I am wearing them everywhere. The other day I just tied on one of my scarves to add a bit of colour to my outfit (my husband calls it the ‘Rambo’ look!!) and it got so many compliments my way. There is only so much you can do with short hair and I love to experiment.

From Hollywood Glam I take my outfit to casual chic by swapping my booties for kitten heels.  The Polaroid camera (Maria’s idea) really does the trick, doesn’t it? It takes this whole look to another era…. I feel like Sandy in Grease! :)

So hey, enjoy your new midi …It’s fun, it’s flirty and girly. If like me you haven’t tried this look before, I would suggest you give it a go; because I’ve totally fallen in love with this look… and it’s going to be my SS staple!

 Enjoy xx

See more of Maria’s work at  www.facebook.com/MariaSundinPage  or http://www.mariasundinblog.com/  

That Resolution Again…

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January is usually a month of making and breaking resolutions, isn’t it? This week at the gym I’ve seen a whole bunch of new faces, working away on the machines looking mighty pleased with themselves! How many will still be going strong a few weeks down the line? 

Want to keep your fitness resolution going? The secret is to come up with a “fun” and manageable plan. 

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Last year I decided to change my routine around and try pumping iron.  A year on and I am a proud owner of a ‘less wobbly’ and a better-toned body. Mind you I still don’t have super toned arms or a six pack… I am human after all!! But I did set realistic goals and achieved them.. baby steps! 

It takes 21 days to form a habit. It’s true! Honest.. I’ve tried and tested. If you are looking to form a good habit, keep at it for 21 days straight and see the results. 

So let me share some of tricks that helped me stick to my resolution and get healthier and fitter. 

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Being realistic. I knew that if I had set my goal to getting a 6 pack I would have given up a week later. I know myself, I enjoy working out but I don’t really want to be in the gym for 2-3 hours every day killing myself. The key is “enjoying” the workout.

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Decide why you want to get fit. Is it to get into those sexy denims or tone those bingo wings … or just to get healthy. Write down why it’s important to you. For me … it was to tone up my little wobbly bits and feel healthier, not just thinner. 

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Try out a fun new workout. If you’ve been working out on the treadmill all your life, it’s time to do something fun and new.  Love to dance? Try out Zumba… I LOVE IT!! An hour of dancing to your favorite tunes… what a brilliant fun way to unwind after a crazy workday. Want to get centered and focused? Try out a yoga class. Learn to breathe and bring in calm into your day. There is a whole range of other classes that you can try out… bootcamp, flybarre, pilates, flying yoga…. The list is just endless and there’s something for every personality.

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It’s not just about working out… it’s what you put into your system that matters too.  And I am not telling you eat salads everyday… I don’t do that either. 

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Have a cheat day! (The fun tip first!) One day a week, eat WHATEVER you want.  From cupcakes to pastas to pizza to whatever. Reward yourself.

Swap your chips and cookies for healthy snacks. Stock up on your favorite fruits, nuts,yogurts. Research a bit more about swapping your fatty cravings to healthy ones before you go grocery shopping.

Go easy on that wino….  Especially if you are looking to loose weight.

Eat breakfast. This was a biggie for me. I used to think coffee was breakfast!

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I cheat and some days I get lazy.  The trick is to acknowledge your bad lazy days, don’t beat yourself up; instead pick yourself the next day and go back to the healthy routine.

Be kind to your body… listen to it. It’s the best and most marvellous instrument you will ever own… so look after it. 

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After all, it’s your life and make sure YOU are starring in it!!

Look fabulous and feel great… have a wonderful healthy 2014 xxx

The Super (stylish) Mom!

Energetic, hyperactive, animated, excited  … I am not describing the 6 year old but her mommy! If you’ve ever met Dharmangi Bhatia you would know what I am talking about. A vibrant and spirited little bundle, you wonder where she gets her energy from?!! 

I have known Dharmangi for a few years now and only really got to know her in the last year or so. She blew me away with her ideas, ideals, plans, focus and determination. So let me tell you why;

A mommy to an equally (if not more) energetic 6 year old, Dharmangi is extremely passionate about children’s development. “It’s never too young” she says. “You have to start early, pay attention to the little details of your children developing. There is so much more potential in our kids today than we give them credit for” And she walks the talk. Little sway has performed on every stage possible, from Delhi to Dubai to New York! 6-year-old Sway, models, dances, plays the drums, sings, ice skates, you name it, she’s done it! 

I ask Dharmangi how does she manage all of these extra-curricular activities without help. Oh did I mention, she has no nanny?  “It’s not easy” she says. “It’s definitely a struggle finding some downtime. I am on the go from 6 in the morning until I tuck her in at night.” Even after that, she is on her laptop researching new and fun activities she can do with Sway. 

Before she was a full time mommy, she was a successful CFO in New York with an extremely challenging career. She decided to give it all up to focus 100% on her daughter’s development. This is my career she once told me, preparing Sway for success. 

Does it all sound exhausting? It surely is. Yet, Dharmangi does all of with boundless energy, even though she struggles with Arthritis and some days it’s just too painful to move. After the morning school run, she heads off to the gym for yoga or a run – everyday! No excuses. She’s disciplined and strict, not just with Sway but with herself too. She also models for fun and walks the ramp for her friends at W2W, with her supportive hubby cheering her on. 

A stylish, fit mommy who sets high standards for herself and everyone around her.  She believes in being her best everyday, no matter what and that’s why she gets featured on Simply Be! An inspiration don’t you agree? 

xx

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