I was Featured on The Phoenix Rising Collective!


Hey Friends! Last month I was interviewed by the lovely Ayanna Jordan, founder and empowerment coach of The Phoenix Rising Collective, for the “She Makes it Beautiful” series. “She Makes it Beautiful” is a professional development series that features women entrepreneurs who share how they started their own businesses. For those of you who are not yet familiar with The Phoenix Rising Collective, you will definitely want to check out this empowering website! PRC creates coaching seminars and training that supports women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Ayanna and I connected via social media and bonded over the fact that we share the same name, spelled the same way :) . It was a true honor to be interviewed by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Through her work, Ayanna provides women-centered workshops that help transform the lives of participants by focusing on putting self love into action. She even provides free bonus worksheets developed from each interviewee’s interview to help you get your dreams off the ground. (click here to get the worksheets from my interview). Her life’s work could not be more in line with my philosophy and desire to encourage women to believe they can, and to strive to create the lives they want to live. Here is a snippet of the interview below:

o o o

This SMIB interview is with luxury handbag designer and artist, Ayanna Listenbee, owner of Ayanna Listenbee Collection and creator of The Lookbook Philosophy.

Ayanna is definitely a creative force to be reckoned with – a determined business woman with impeccable style and a strong will to fulfill her God-given purpose; it’s awe-inspiring. I hadn’t met her before this interview, but social media can most certainly be a positive space for connecting with like-minded women on a mission to do great things in the world through passion-filled work. This is most certainly the case with Ayanna, so by the time we finished the interview (which felt more like two friends catching up after a long hiatus) we both agreed that we should have been having our conversation over coffee…even though we live miles apart!

She most certainly embodies the meaning of her name, Beautiful Flower, and as you can see from her handbags, she’s an entrepreneur that creates from a soulful place that is in full bloom.

What sparked your interest to become a designer? How did you know this was the avenue you wanted to take?

I’ve always drawn. I’ve always made things and was creative as child. It was encouraged a lot by my father who painted sometimes in his spare time. He eventually became an art dealer. I never thought about pursuing it as a career. I never took it seriously as an option because I didn’t think it was something that could sustain me financially. You know, the funny thing is when I look back I never heard that from my parents; it was just something that I picked up along the way that if you’re in the arts you’re not going to make money. You’re going to be struggling. I can’t say that it’s been dollars falling from the sky since I started, but I went away to school and had many majors. I was a ballet major at one point – which didn’t last very long. I was also a graphic design major, communications, and then long story short, I ended up as an English major. I was about to graduate with a semester left and I thought, “This is not what I want to do. I’m not happy.”

Click here to read the full interview . . . and check out the PRC website. There are interviews from some amazing women that are sure to inspire you in your journey, complete with free bonus worksheets to use as a personal toolkit to help you push your dreams into reality. Enjoy!


Finding the Beauty in Everyday Life . . .


view of the outdoor pool area at Scripps College . . .

Hey guys! How’s it going? The school year is winding down over here and I am gearing up to have a house full of people during the day while I work (my husband, daughter and son will soon be on vacation from school + work for 2 months). This happens every summer, yet I still find myself filled with excitement and apprehension at the beginning of summer every year. I don’t know why I have the apprehension….. well, yes, I do know why. It’s because everyone else in the house is free (for the most part) and I have to work. I’m used to working from the peace and quiet of my bedroom without much interruption. When everyone is home, I have a lovely soundtrack of background television noise, laughing, arguing and interruptions of ” Mom, what can I eat?” to work with. Perhaps this is more like it would be if I were working in an office . . . The boss coming in and handing out more work to do, interruptions from colleagues, a muffled soundtrack of staplers, talking and papers rustling. The only difference is I wouldn’t have to break up too many fights . . . although I guess that depends on where you work, no? Anyway, I’m trying to remind myself to stop and find the beauty in each moment as I go throughout my day. Hoping that by doing so, I will not stress so much when family things come up throughout the day. I know its a mindset, and it’s obviously one I have yet to conquer. ;)


Workspace Wednesday | You Don’t Have to Love it All . . .

I have a serious love-hate relationship with my phone , , ,

I have a serious love-hate relationship with my phone . . .

Currently inspired by this beautiful, super soft blue leather . . .

Currently inspired by this beautiful, super soft blue leather . . .

Hey guys, I hope your Wednesday is going well. I’ve been out of the office a lot these past few weeks, I feel like there are so many things that are falling by the wayside! It’s definitely a juggling act, and I’m hoping to get the balancing act back on track soon . . .  or not. Lol. In the meantime, I have been working to add some new pieces to the collection for Summer. I’m really excited (as I always am when working on the design portion of my job). This is the part that gives me life. Last Friday I spent the day at Wisdom Elementary, participating in Career Day. One of my best friends is a 4th grade teacher there, and she invited me to come and speak to a few of the classrooms. The children had a lot of great questions and one of the questions that I kept getting was “What is your dream job?”  It actually was funny to me, because I had the same answer every time I was asked: THIS!!! THIS IS MY DREAM JOB!!! I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, and No, I do not like every aspect of it. In fact, there are parts of it that I hate! (babysitting contractors to get me my s*&%! before my delivery dates, revising styles to fit within the allotted costs for the line, selling, and tracking down pricing for materials and pretty much anything having to do with a phone or making phone calls to name a few) but there is always some aspect of what we do that may not hold the most pleasure for us. Perhaps those are the parts we need to grow in, or become stronger in. Regardless, I’m happy to say that the good, and the fulfillment of my job outweighs the bad.

PS. is there anything in particular you would like to see added to the collection, made from that beautiful blue leather above? Share with me in the comments section below!


Career Day!


Career Day 2016 with Mrs. Glenn’s 4th grade class . . .

Hey guys! Yesterday I spent the day at Wisdom Elementary in South Central LA, participating in Career Day. One of my oldest and bestests teaches there and invited me to come and speak to a few of the classrooms, about what I do, as a way to introduce the children to different career opportunities that are available to them. It’s so important for children to know they have options. It’s even more important to expose them to different opportunities, ideas and paths, so that they can truly discover what makes them happy and where their skills and passions lie. Typically, I am definitely one to shy away from public speaking, but I just loved talking to the children. They had so many great questions and so much enthusiasm. It was truly an experience that blessed me. This is the second time I’ve participated in career day and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.

Keep moving forward, you never know who you are inspiring!

Behind the Scenes . . .

The Magic Corner . . .

The magic corner in my bedroom studio . . . or “bedudio” as I like to call it . . .

I recently had lunch with a few creatives and we got to talking about the ins and outs of running a fashion business. We talked a lot about social media, and how it is playing a crucial role in our businesses in different ways. One of the women in the group asked me who takes the photos for my instagram account. I kind of chuckled when she asked me, because at the moment, having someone else photograph + curate my Instagram account is not something I can do, but I was flattered that she thought the images were something I was outsourcing. I explained to her the reality of my photography set up which usually consists of the following . . .
1. bedroom floor
2. window (I use natural light only)
3. products and
4. cell phone to snap the shot.
I dream of the day when I am able to shoot my collection in a studio, with light boxes, backdrops and props, but for now this is what I have and I make the best of it, and thats what a lot of creatives are doing. The thing is, we usually just see the end result… the perfectly staged photo or scene. We don’t always see what it takes to get the shot. Since I am usually shooting when the kids and Rob are at school, theres no one to take a pic of me balancing on the edge of my bed and shooting down on top of the bags, or crouching down to get the shot while trying to keep my feet and knees from making a guest appearance in the corners of the image. It’s pretty amazing what we can create with our phones and laptops these days. It’s also amazing to see how it’s done. I’ll be sharing a little more of the behind the scenes process in the coming months.

Have a fab Thursday, peops!


I Need Your Help!



Hey guys, I have a really quick survey that will only take 60 seconds of your time. Please help me out by completing it. It will help me to continue to create handbags, accessories and other products that are relevant to you and your needs! Thanks so much!!

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Leaving the Fear Behind. . .

The Helene Mailer + Boston Mini . . .

The Helene Mailer + Boston Mini . . .

We are well into May . . . well 4 days in to be exact. I have been doing some serious evaluating of my business and business practices the last few weeks. I’ve been working with a wonderful coach, Natalie Gouche, who is helping me put together social media + marketing strategies (among other things) for my business. Last week, we met for an all day intensive, and honestly, it felt more like a therapy session than anything else. I recognized some of my behavior for what it actually was. I’ve spoken about fear before, but I had an epiphany about how I was letting fear dictate my moves and limit my potential. That opened my brain and my senses as to how I was literally letting fear stop me, and honestly, it took a week of sitting with that knowledge to really get the full grasp of it!  I tell you guys, if you don’t have a skill, or you are floundering in your business or even your life, seek out someone who can help you. Seek out someone to either teach you how to get over those hang ups or coach you through it. If you think you may need someone for business, please check out Natalie. She is amazing at what she does. I still have a lot of learning to do, social media is definitely not my strong point… I mean, the word itself says it’s “social,” which is not a word I would necessarily use to describe myself LOL. However, if you want to be in the game, you have to learn how to play it, no? Let me leave you with this thought::

Put fear in the back seat and take the wheel! . . . Better yet, kick fear to the curb, take the wheel, let the top down and fly!!

Mood Board Monday:: The Palette of Life



I love the tonal neutrals that were staring back at me from my desk . . .


palette_of_life_thelookbookhilosophy.com Happy Monday! It is the start of another week. I spent a great deal of time cleaning off my desk + work area yesterday. Feels like months since I actually sat at it. Sometimes I like to move my workspaces… especially when my desk is piled with bag samples, clothes and papers… but I digress. This Mood Board Monday I decided to do something a little different. Instead of creating an actual mood board, I decided to select colors from real life, and what was right in front of my eyes. I was sipping coffee as I worked and realized I loved the color combination that this little corner of my life was creating. It’s neutral, and soft while at the same time contrasting in a subtle way. Perhaps it is a palette you can incorporate into your life or wardrobe in some way?

Cheers to a great week ahead! Be productive and don’t forget to have fun!!

NEW MUSIC:: Ruelle x LISTENBEE :: Until We Go Down


Hey guys, my brother dropped a new track a few weeks ago (apparently the sister is always the last to know) Anyway, I wanted to share it with you. It’s a remix for Ruelle’s “Until We Go Down.” Click the photo above to have a listen, and like on Spotify or Soundcloud.


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