My top 10 Tips on How to Dress like Strong Confident Woman.

how to dress like a stong confident woman starring maya

I’m having one of those weeks where I just want to bury my head in the sand and deny that I have anything to do. If only I could go on strike for a day, but I don’t think anyone would care. My little boss Maya wouldn’t have a bar of it.

But anyway, I’d been trying to think of what style-ish posts I can write that might be useful and I had a vision of Maya as a young  woman going out into the world as her own. It’s a very, very strange and scary thought seeing as she’s only just turned two.

I like to imagine one day she will ask me how to know what to wear and how to put it all together. At least I hope she asks me, god help me if she buys one of those ridiculous girly fashion magazines to educate herself from and learn a hundred ways how she is lacking.

This is what I would tell her.

My ten top tips on how to dress like a strong confident woman.

  1. Strong posture. It doesn’t matter how you feel inside, how nervous you are, how much you wish a black hole would open and swallow you up. In nerve-wracking situations which could be anything from walking into a bar alone, to a job interview all you have to do is lengthen your spine, shoulders back, head up and smile like you know something no one else does. Technically that’s true anyway. Great posture, or carriage as they used to call it in the dark ages can make you look composed, confident and strong even if you’re a trembling mess inside.
  2. Know what you like. Ever since I saw Katherine Hepburn in a white shirt  in an old 40’s movie, and Audrey Hepburn in a black long sleeve top and pant, I’ve incorporated it into my everyday style . I love the simplicity of it. When I dress in what I love, I feel great. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s in fashion or not. Black and white never lets me down. Your thing might be bohemian, or vintage, or the classic jeans and t-shirts. All that matters is that you love it and you own it.starringmaya audrey hepburn
  3. Dress for your shape. Knowing what suits you will help you find gorgeous designs to flatter you. I would love to be able to wear body con dresses but alas, my body doesn’t look good in them. Why would I make my poor body unhappy and uncomfortable? On the other hand a dress I recently purchased from Asos looks great on and I feel so damn good in it! The amazing Sophia Loren said that a dress should serve it’s purpose without obstructing the view, which is true of my lovely wiggle dress. Although, I don’t always follow this rule. Most of the time I run around in oversized shirts dresses and oversized tops with jeans. I love the feeling of loose fabric swishing around me but I also know that I’m tall enough to carry the extra volume off. So, know what suits you.

    starring maya asos wiggle dress
    Wiggle dress from ASOS
  4. .Choose one bit of skin to show. This one is simple, show off either your boobs or your thighs. Trust me you can look amazing even all covered up. As shown by Audrey Hepburn above.
  5. The ‘one fitted one floaty’ trick. If you have a two piece outfit a really flattering way to style is to pair a loose top with a fitted bottom or vice versa. For example a fitted top with an a-line skirt, tunic with leggings or fitted pencil skirt with a shell top.  This rule helps to show of your curves and always makes for a lovely silhouette

    starringmaya fitted floaty
    The fitted jeans and floaty top – one of my favourite looks. This look is from Asos.
  6. Make only 1 item the hero. It could be a statement piece of jewellery, a sequined jacket or an amazing print dress. Let everything else compliment that one piece instead of competing with it. Ofcourse I wont be following that rule when I’m a little old lady. I fully intend to wear all my big rings at once, huge necklaces and earrings, red lipstick and Chanel suits. Bring on the eccentricity of old age!
  7. Start and end your outfit in the same colour or theme. This is a really easy formula for instant polish if you feel like you need something extra. If you’re wearing a plain outfit of white tee and blue jeans, layer on a couple of long bohemian-ish necklaces (start of outfit) and a pair of bohemian sandals (end of outfit). Or, with the same outfit a black jacket (start) and black shoes (end). My favourite look at the moment is a gold and silver statement necklace with jeans and a tee, finished off with a pair of gold flats.
  8. Choose your shoes wisely. Do your back a favour and don’t wear heels that you can’t walk in. I always see impeccably dressed girls in their mega heels tottering precariously along. It doesn’t make you look confident or sexy when you are wobbling like a hunched unbalanced toddler. I used to only wear the super 10 inch heels when you know you’ll be sitting or standing in them for most of the time. For walking I used to carry flats. I knew my limitations.
  9. Shop well. Dont spend your money on clothes that look cheap. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to shop smart. Look for good fabrics that will launder well and always try everything on. Most internet shopping sites allows free returns in order to allow you to try on at home. Indicators of ‘cheap’ clothing are usually ill-fitting garments, puckered seams, baggy shoulders and sleeves, loose threads, uneven hemlines, blacks usually have a reddish our brown tint to them, and stretch fabric doesn’t bounce back after you stretch it. If you only get one wear out of it before it falls apart it’s a waste of money. Consider Cost per wear.
  10. Build your perfect capsule wardrobe. Meaning each item should be able to create many outfits. For example a fantastic jacket – one of the most versatile and worn pieces in anyone’s wardrobe. It can be worn with jeans, trousers, skirts and dresses. Nikki from styling you has just done a great example of creating a capsule wardrobe with 17 pieces creating 28 outfit combinations.

    capsule items via styling you - starring maya
    17 piece capsule collection via Styling you the blog.

.And please for the love of all that is good in this world, don’t hide yourself for the sake of fashion rules. If it’s a hot day and your arms don’t look thinner than a hungry catwalk model, go ahead and wear a sleeveless top because your comfort should always come first. Also because really, no one cares. Everyone is too busy with their own lives and their iPhones anyway. The people who look up and judge negatively are either secretly wishing they had your confidence or are just dicks.

Have I forgotten something? Do you have any more wise tips I can pass on to my child one day?

sophia loren quote starring maya

 

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

How I blog

How I blog - starring maya

It’s Monday night, 10.15 and I’m sitting on the couch, bra less, makeup less, glamour less.

Kid has been sleeping since 7pm… I laugh in my head as I type that because she’s already woken up 3 times thanks to her fever and blocked nose.

It’s been a Panadol commercial in our apartment.

So here I am, trying to come up with cool posts. Fashion posts are out. It’s very hard to write stylish when you can see your reflection resembling a drowned street rat on the black TV screen in front of you.

I should be asleep. I should shower while my kid sleeps. I should clean the pasta hurricane remnants from the floor.

starring maya - messy home
not my actual home – but this is close

Instead, on the pretence of I’m working , contributing some valuable insights to someone, I am sitting here writing this post.

Oh but I’m not alone though.

starring maya = my little pony toy

I have Hoot the talking owl on my right, naked Elsa and Ana on the table behind my head, two teddy bear biscuits abandoned by my daughter on the arm of the couch and a couple of ‘my little pony’ things at my feet.

To get in the mood I also have some beautiful music playing – which is probably why my eyes are getting heavier by the second.

I really should sleep.

Blogging to music is amazing. It’s a new tool I discovered totally by accident. I should say rediscovered, because it’s not as if I am new to it.

Back in my pre baby days I used to spend my days on the road driving from shops to shop with music as my companion. Music always has a way of reaching deep into your memory vault for a few minutes to make you relive or experience something on another level.

I’d forgotten.

Not to say that the Wiggles and twinkle little star aren’t deep and thought evoking… After all, how else am I going to remember that I’m a mum now. I need reminding all the time. The early mornings, sleepless nights and non stop cooking ad cleaning after kid are not enough.

A few days ago I was driving on my own and I realized I hadn’t listened to the radio in a while. Usually when kid is in the car she demands I sing wheels on the bloody bus again and again and again. She probably sensed I’d forgotten I was a mum.

So a song came on, a song too embarrassing to name but lets just say that it was a teen favourite in the pop genre, and it made me reminisce hard about life. Suddenly all these profoundly intelligent sentences and stories started popping onto my head, I was so pumped I couldn’t wait to get home to blog.

By the time I got home, kid decided that I’d had enough time on my own so there was no free time. Who was I kidding right?

Which brings me back to tonight — attempting a beautifully articulated award-winning blog post. While fighting tiredness. And a bitch of a cold.

But instead you get a late night rant. Sorry.

Moral of this story my friends, is that when one realizes that one is not going to win the ‘free time’ game with a 2-year-old, the smartest thing one can do, in fact the only thing one can do is to just roll with it. 

Because you have no choice.

Tomorrow night I will be here again, same place, same time, same pajamas, attempting genius.

This is how I blog.

xxx

 

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

My Favourite Photograph

There’s a photo of Maya and I taken in our first few minutes together on the wall. Everytime I see it, it brings me straight back into the moment.

starring maya .. first day of maya
This. A few moments after Maya was born. Taken by Claudio Raschella.

You know what I mean by ‘into the moment’ right? I mean everything.

The labour pain and the relief when it was over. What I ate that day, what I wore and how many hours I’d slept during. Clenching my fingernails into Claude’s shoulders and making him bleed. How he just let me.

Most of all it brings back the crazy insane joy of the moment I got to look into my beautiful baby’s eyes. Of holding her wriggling little body in my arms. For the first time.

I felt like I was being given with the whole world on a gilded platter.

It’s crazy to think that a year before this picture was taken, I was just me. I didn’t have a baby to take care of.  I was still able to sleep when I wanted to sleep and go to the movies any time I wanted. I was free in a sense, roaming the world with no real purpose. When I spent my days being gloriously selfish, spending hard-earned money on frivolity, and wasting long hours procrastinating.

When having a child was a distant fantasy, something I would get to one day before my biological clock stopped ticking.

This photograph, It was the moment life changed forever.

Into a life where I get to kiss and cuddle the most beautiful kid I know, of hearing her call me mummy and tell me she loves me. Where I get to watch Disney movies (on repeat) and make up silly dances.. A life where sleep is a luxury as is a clean home.

And I love it.

Now when I think of what it would be like if I had never had Maya, it’s a pretty bland fantasy.

I love this photo most because it puts things into perspective. Reminds me of the most important things.

……

Anyway, that’s enough soppiness for the week. I cant help myself, my sweet baby girl is turning 2 soon and I need time to stop moving so fast!

Do you have a favourite photograph that takes you back somewhere?

 

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

How to Wear Your Little Black Dress Casually

You probably know lots of way you can dress up an outfit from day-to-night right?

But what happens when you have a closet full of beautiful cocktail dresses and glamorous sequined jackets from a life long ago.

A life before you had kids where you had never heard of wet wipes. Where you only used your washing machine once a week.

Or perhaps a life where you worked in a job that required a formal wardrobe. Clothes that no longer fit into your new job.

I know I do. Plenty.

Some don’t fit on my body and some don’t fit into my life.

It would be so wonderful to wear your cocktail dress to the pub without looking weirdly overdressed.

Not like the time when my 2 crazy glamorous friends went to the roughest pub in the roughest town (by accident) dressed in their finest on the way to a wedding.

Too funny.

Here are my favourite ways to wear your LBD casually:

  1. A denim jacket fixes everything. Throwing one on over a cocktail dress instantly gives you casual chic status. A casual blazer or a Vest/gillet would work too. Speaking of denim, a pair of jeans with a white tee is a gorgeous way to dress down a sequined jacket or silk cape.
  2. Accessorize with fun jewellery like a pair of dangly bohemian style earrings or a stack of bangles to give your structured dresses a casual feel.
  3. Printed Accessories are so much fun. From stripes to florals to leopard print, your choices are limitless. A print scarf or a leopard print bag is a great way to break up the solid black of your dress.
  4. Ankle boots are so comfortable and practical but most of all they look great with almost every outfit. You can choose the safe route with black or experiment different looks with tans and greys.
  5. An oversized bag has a ‘casual just hanging out with my girls’ feel about it.

Here’s a fun example:

starringmaya how to wear your little black dress casually
Found on iheartmirandakerr.tumblr.com

 

Here is another outfit inspiration I found on Pinterest by a blogger.

starringmaya How yo wear your little black dress casually

 

 

 

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

7 Tips for taking Better pictures on your iPhone

starring Maya 7 tips for taking better pictures on your iPhone title

Claude, my husband who happens to be a brilliant photographer, is sick of me.

I’m sure of it.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve been bugging him to take photos for my posts, whether it’s pictures of me looking ever so casual while I work, or of our child.

It started out fine. He took the photos, and after a few days of nagging he’d email them to me. The result — a visually beautiful post.

Months on, he’s over taking them. I’m over waiting for them.

So when I asked him for photography tips, he was only too happy (albeit little a too eager) to help. But hey, at least I now have some tips to share with you.

Without further ado, Here are Claude’s 7 best tips for taking great pictures with your iPhone

1. Consider your background.

It’s all very well to have your friends smiling beautifully but pay attention to the background too. You can get a great background by either moving the camera a little or moving your subject to frame an image.

Look out for lamp posts, rubbish bins or power lines sticking out of someone’s head.

starringmaya photography tips - consider backgrounds
Pic on the left looks funny with pole sticking out of his head, Pic on the right was taking by camera moving slightly to the left.
starringmaya how to photography tips
Left: with bins Right: without bins

 

2. Compose your shot like an artist

Pay attention to composition.

Photographers and artists have a little secret called ‘the rule of thirds’. It’s where the main subject of your image should only take up one-third of the entire frame. It’s always a more interesting picture when a person or product or landscape is off centre.

If you’re shooting the ocean and a beautiful sky for example, the horizon shouldn’t necessarily be across the centre. Take the photograph with more sea or more sky so the horizon will be sitting close to the bottom or top of the frame.

 

starring maya how to take better pictures with iPhone
In this image the hero of the picture, the playground is centred.
starringmaya how to tale better pictures with your iPhone
The playground here is closer to the foreground making the Image much more appealing.

 

3. A good photo needs good lighting.

Ask any photographer, and they’ll tell you: it’s all about the lighting.

If you’re taking a shot of a friend in the sunny outdoors, take it in the shade where you will get a smoother cleaner picture on their face. The sun can create lots of nasty shadows and glare on your face and does anyone really need that?

starringmaya sun shade how to take better photos
Left: My darling stuffing her face in the sun. Right: A few steps forward in shade

If you’re indoors and you want to take a shot of a product for example, shoot with the light not behind you and the camera. If you point your camera towards the light your image will be dark and you’ll get a silhouette.

Sometimes, a silhouette can be quite beautiful.

 

starringmaya how to take better pictures ith your iPhone
Silhouette of Claude and Maya
starringmaya how to take better pictures with your iPhone
Silhouette of Maya
starringmaya sun shade how to take better photographs
1. camera facing the bright window. 2. camera slightly angled so light is on the side. 3. Camera facing outside from a shaded balcony 4. Camera facing into the balcont with light behind.

4. Use the iPhone focus feature

Once you have your picture composed, touch and hold your iPhone screen where you want the main focus to be and a little square will come up, that’s your focus point.

You can also adjust the brightness or darkness of your image by dragging your finger up or down anywhere on the screen.

starringmaya using focus on the iphone to get better pictures

 

5. Use ‘bursts’ to get multiple shots

If like me, you have a child that is always blurry in pictures because she wont stop moving, keep your finger on the button and it will take multiple shots as she plays.

The number of shots depends on how long you keep your finger on the button. Hopefully among the many pictures there will be one shot in focus.

starringmaya bursts photography tips
Left: A few seconds gave me 23 photos in one burst. Press select on the bottom to choose the good ones. Right: All photos from one burst

 

6. Taking pics at night

Taking a picture in the dark slows down your shutter speed. Basically your camera is trying to let in more light. But with the shutter open for longer, there’s a good chance your picture will be blurry because you’re moving the camera.

You can get around this by holding the phone still. Put it on a stable surface like a fence or wall (unless you go pro and get yourself a tripod).

If you’re photographing friends be sure to turn on the flash, this will freeze any motion and maybe you might get a creative blurry background too.

starringmaya how to take better pictures with your iPhone
An evening outdoor shot
starringmaya how to take better pictures with your iPhone
Night shot with iPhone

7. Use photo apps.

There are loads of apps that allow you to alter, touch up or add filters to your photos.

Pro apps are a little more complicated but there are apps that are easy to use.

My favourite apps are Vintique and Photoshop Express. Claude, who’s a bit more experienced, uses Filterstorm or Snapseed or even ProShot

Now that I am more informed on how to take decent pictures, Claude’s a happy man. He thinks I wont bother him anymore with requests.

I will.

Thanks to Claude for helping me out. He’s the best photographer I know, check out his Facebook page for his work.

Do you have any other tips or Apps that you like to use? I would love to hear your thoughts. Tell me in the comments below.

 

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

A few Kind Words

A Few Kind words can make a person's day - or a make a blogger's block disappear!I’ve been struggling like crazy to write something decent for the past few weeks. It’s not that I haven’t got any ideas of what to write, it’s how I write that’s the problem.

And the more I umm and ahh about each newly started post the more doubts I have.

I wonder if people read my posts, if they can make sense out of it, if they get knowledge or any kind of enjoyment from it.

Seems to be a pretty common ailment this blogger’s block business.

While it’s nice knowing there are other’s out there, I still don’t like when I’m in the thick of it without a light at the end of the tunnel.

I procrastinate and take days to write one post because nothing seems to work. I write a story, and an hour later I hit delete because to me I sound like a dick.

On and on it goes until I give up and get on pinterest to get some visual inspiration. Also a great way to waste time.

Today I went to visit a colleague and friend when out of the blue she told me she loved one of my recent posts and reading it had made her tear up a little. She said some other lovely things too which boosted my confidence a thousand fold so here I am writing again!

It was a really nice thing to hear and it’s given me just what I needed, a bit of confidence.

I will most certainly pass it on next time I come across something I love by someone else.

You never know how a few kind words change a person’s day 🙂

Whats the nicest compliment you received lately? Tell me in the comments below

 

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

Mother’s Day Giveaway

Maya and I have put together 3 amazing gifts to give to one beautiful mummy. For details on how to enter pop on over to my Instagram and good luck!

The gifts include:

Starringmaya mother's day giveaway peter lang

  • The gorgeous Allure Deluxe Drawer Chest by the amazing Howard Storage World, where I could happily deck out my entire apartment with. I have a smaller one of these for my ring collection, and even after a year it’s still shiny and sturdy, and I love being able to see what I have without rummaging through draws. Valued at $109

Starringmaya mother's day giveaway -ALLURE-DELUXE-DRAWER-CHEST HSWStarringmaya mother's day giveaway -ALLURE-DELUXE-DRAWER-CHEST HSW

  • And last but not least, a personal styling consultation. Sometimes I get requests asking to do a personal styling session, but having a little girl makes it hard to be away so I’ve worked out a way to do a consultation via email. All I need is a few photos and I’ll do the rest of the work in advising you on the best shapes and silhouettes to suit your body shape.  A little taste of areas covered in this post. Valued at $150

Winner drawn via random.org next Tuesday 5th of May. Giveaway only applies to Australian residents 🙂

Head on over to Instagram and search for @starringmaya, I’ll see you there!

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED. THANK YOU ALL FOR PLAYING!

xxx Shereen

 

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PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen