Category Archives: Randomocities

The Rules of Fashion Were Made to be Broken . . .

The Eros Day Bag in Buttermilk . . .

The Eros Day Bag in Buttermilk . . .

Back in the day wearing white after Labor Day was just something you didn’t do. In my experience, things were a little more lax on the west coast, probably due to the warmer weather year round, but back East, it was thoroughly frowned upon. I remember watching freshman Left Coasters being publicly ridiculed on campus, during my first semester at Howard. As they crossed the campus in white pants and shoes after Labor Day, their fellow students would yell out the Labor Day “rule,” while laughing and pointing. Since I’ve never been one to adhere to the “rules of fashion” it struck me as odd how seriously people took the notion of “No White after Labor Day.” I mean it was just another color in the rainbow of life. I’m guessing it signified the transition into the Fall season, which is actually a visible, tangible thing back East. Honestly, I don’t know how you can choose any color that God made and make a rule as to when it can and can’t be worn. The way I see it, if the color white still presents itself in nature at a certain time of year, then that’s my cue that its okay for me to present myself in that color (think snow). So much of fashion is about figuring out what works for you and how to utilize it in a way that suits your personality and style. It’s funny to think that at one point in history, denim was strictly a uniform created for and worn by gold miners. I even remember when it was considered inappropriate for children to wear black. Someone had to initially break those fashion rules, because all over the world people are basically living in denim, and black t shirts and dresses can be seen on many a child (not attending a funeral) on any given day. I don’t know about you, but I am thankful for the change.

Are there any fashion rules that you have broken on the regular?

xx ayanna_listenbee_logo

Shop the Eros Tote in Buttermilk here.

Life in Contrast . . . .

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October is swiftly coming to a close. Unfortunately, the weather here hasn’t quite reconciled itself to the fact that we are in our second month of Fall. I am yearning for cooler weather, boots + sweaters, and nights by the fireplace!

What’s your favorite time of year? Are you a summer lover, or does Spring make you sing? Do you love Fall or is Winter your thing?

Bee

Randomocities | On Progress . . .

Haight Fringe Clutch | Ayanna Listenbee

Haight Fringe Clutch | Ayanna Listenbee

Sometimes it’s hard to see how far you’ve come, when you are looking at the big picture. It’s easy to focus on the day to day minuscule things. The things that are not working, or that someone forgot to take care of, or that didn’t get crossed off the To Do list. It’s especially hard when you are the one responsible for everything. I mean really, there is only so much one human can do in a day. Well, today I had to stop and remind myself of that, yet again. So I just wanted to share my “note to self” with you::

Go easy on yourself peops! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Eventually you will reach your destination!

Happy Thursday!
xx

Bee_thelookbookphilosophy.com

Friday Five | 5 Random Things . . .

ShooterTote | Ayanna Listenbee for The LookBook Philosophy

Shooter Tote | Ayanna Listenbee

Sharing 5 randomocities found on the web this week . . .

  • Coach is laying off it’s Canadian part time workers in an effort to develop this . . .
  • I LOVE what this photographer is doing in the name of beauty . . .
  • Babies and Bustiers . . . Amy Schumer and Jennifer Coolidge are hilarious!
  • Love this beautiful neutral toned townhouse in the Windy City . . .
  • I found something to help subside my fear of flying . . .

TGIF! Enjoy your weekend!!
xx

Bee_thelookbookphilosophy.com

#designfail | That Time I Made a REALLY Ugly Bag . . .

That Time I Made a Really Ugly Bag | THE LOOKBOOK PHILOSOPHY I recently cleaned out my black hole of a closet and discovered one of the ugliest handbags in the history of all bagdom.

And I made it.

For all intents and purposes, we’ll call her Gertrude. It’s only right to give her a proper name. After all, I designed her, created her patterns, sourced her materials, hardware and sewed her for the final project in my accessories design class. Luckily, I got an A in the class, and somehow, an A on the project Gertrude,  but when it was all said + done, I was not feeling the end result  “Old Gert.”

That Time I Made a Really Ugly Bag | THE LOOKBOOK PHILOSOPHY

Here’s Gert up close and personal. That detailed stitching you see on the leather pieces did NOT come out as I envisioned. Believe it or not, I was NOT going for the Rodeo Cowboy effect, but apparently . . . . #nuffsaid

That Time I Made a Really Ugly Bag | THE LOOKBOOK PHILOSOPHY

This is Gert’s backside. She’s kinda wide. I wanted her to be able to carry tons of stuff, and she can. She is a workhorse, Ill give her that . . .

That Time I Made a Really Ugly Bag | THE LOOKBOOK PHILOSOPHY

Gert is full of surprises! She is actually reversible!

That Time I Made a Really Ugly Bag | THE LOOKBOOK PHILOSOPHY

At one point I even convinced myself that Gert’s inside was her better (looking) side. And that, in actuality, this was my design plan all along . . . hah!

That Time I Made a Really Ugly Bag | THE LOOKBOOK PHILOSOPHY

I thought the frayed denim edges would give her, well . . . a little edge . . instead it just made her look like she should be sold with a pair of cowboy boots . . .

That’s how I felt. I mean Gert looked great in the original sketch. On paper she was more like a “Rebecca,” or a “Jocelyn.” At the time I selected her leather and denim, I thought she’d look cool. I wanted her to be daring + useful, so I decided to make her reversible. I even decided to keep some of the denim edges frayed as a testament to her coolness. I envisioned her a real downtown-urban-cool-girl-tote. But by the time I was finished . . . and frankly, even before I finished, I could tell the physical manifestation of Gert left a lot to be desired.

My downtown-urban-cool-girl-tote looked more like
an old-back-woods-rodeo-satchel with a zipper.
:(

Yet and still, if I wanted to pass the class, I had to turn “Old Gert” in. Truthfully, by the time I finished sewing, glueing and hammering all her pieces together (which happened to be 4:30 am the morning the project was due) I was glad to be done with it her. At that point, I had gone through two sewing machines and had ended up at my ex next door neighbor’s house, practically spending the night on her floor, so I could use her sewing machine to finish the project. My machine broke and basically died during a crucial point in the project, so I borrowed my Mom’s. Well, then her machine broke and I was left with no machine and only a few hours left to complete the project. So I called my friend Jessica who now lived about 40 miles away. She was gracious enough to let me come over and sew away to my heart’s content. She even helped me when Gertie’s leather and denim became too thick for the machine. Thank God for Jessica. She basically saved my life in that moment. At certain points I had to hand sew Gertie’s denim and leather together with a really thick needle and thread. Naturally, during this process, my thimble came up missing, so at 4am, I’m sitting on Jessica’s dining room floor with a wad of paper towels taped around my sore thumb while gingerly trying to pierce a stack of denim, leather + facing approximately 1 1/2″ thick. True leather craftsmen have all kinds of shavers, clamps and hammers for this type of situation, but little old undergrad moi, only had a couple of binder clips, my sewing needle and a roll of paper towels at my disposal. Nevertheless, I completed the project, and was greatly rewarded for my efforts by passing the class with flying colors.

She's ready for her close up . . . just don't get too close . . .

She’s ready for her close up . . . just don’t get too close . . .

So last week when I came across the ugliest bag in the world,  I mean Gertrude, cringing in the far back corner of my closet I had to stop and chuckle to myself. Yes, she was still ugly. But she was still standing strong! No rips, tears or ungluing had taken place in the 8+ years since she was conceived. And during most of this time, she had taken up residence in my closet . . .

Now, you may think that’s a safe place for a bag to reside. And maybe most closets are.
But not mine.

Any item of clothing residing in my closet is liable to take a serious beating. I’ve briefly discussed the horrors of the inner workings of my closet before. At any given moment a shoe, boot or belt could decide it’s “had enough of all this fighting for space” and pounce. I speak from experience. There’s been many a time I’ve opened my closet and been met with a boot to the head. (that’s the trouble with storing way too many shoes on a shelf above your head in a shallow, crowded closet) . . . it’s an “Enter at Your Own Risk” type of situation. Yet, despite her surroundings, Gertrude managed to survive in tact.

I’m not so sure about her dignity though.

There was that time I found her huddled amongst my favorite hi tops . . . (perhaps for the sake of protection) and pulled her out in an act of “reconsideration of her ugliness,” or to put it nicely, I thought I would give her a second chance. Maybe she wasn’t as ugly as I’d thought she was. Surely she could pay her way by acting as a large beach tote? I mean she was huge, and could hold a lot of stuff. That was probably her only redeeming quality . . . and her only outing. I think she enjoyed the beach. She still has a few sand grains in her pockets to prove it. Probably snuck them back home as proof to the other bags that she was good enough to hit the beach, and I guess she was right! She went, and they didn’t!

That Time I Made a Really Ugly Bag | THE LOOKBOOK PHILOSOPHY

I thought about throwing “Old Gert” away, but only for a second. She has a special place in my heart. She is the product of hours upon hours of labor, possibly a tear or two, most definitely a right hand full of sore fingers + a mind full of lessons learned. Birthing her taught me what it takes to actually make a large leather bag. She showed me the painstaking error of my ways when I rushed and thought I could wing it without the proper tools. She got me where I am today. So although Gertrude may not be the prettiest bag on the shelf, she definitely has earned her place on the shelf.

Do you have any #designfail’s hiding in your closet? ☺ 

Bee_thelookbookphilosophy.com

Sidebar :: I’m Frustrated . . .

sometimes you just gotta go with the frizz . . .  I mean flow . . .

sketchbook musings :: sometimes you just gotta go with the frizz . . . I mean flow . . .

Real talk . . . I’m frustrated. I guess it’s just one of those days.

One of those days where my computer has decided it doesn’t want to comply, and in order to make it’s point, has decided to lock up and freeze on me at every occasion.

One of those days where I’ve had to rearrange my whole errand-running schedule because my wash + go has me looking like I could win Best in Show in the “Small Fluffy Dog” category.

One of those days where everything I put on makes me look fat . . .

One of those days where my kid comes home from school and casually mentions that he forgot to turn in the homework we stayed up until 10pm working on . . . :/

One of those days where I have failed to check even one thing off my ever growing To Do list . . .

One of those days where I want to eat something really fabulous and tasty, but don’t want to cook it . . . or go get it . . .

One of those days where even sneaking off to the bathroom does not provide solitude . . . I swear it’s like kids have a bathroom radar . . . as soon as the door closes a crisis erupts!!! WTF?

It seems so wrong to be moody over little things like this. Especially when so many horrible things are going on in the world. But I have to say, just sharing them, and getting it off my chest does make me feel better. . .  that and a cup of coffee . . . yeah  . . . I’m off to get a warm hug in a cup. Pardon my rant + thanks for listening. :)

How do you cope with life’s little stresses?

xx

ayanna_thelookbookphilosophy.com

Currently . . .

Currently . . .

Today is my first day back at work. Luckily I am still on vacay schedule, as the kiddies and Rob are still home. It’s crazy to me that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. 2014 is quickly coming to a close. I’m glad to watch it go, and excited to usher in 2015. However, it’s been a little hard getting back into the swing of things. I haven’t blogged since a few weeks before Christmas. Handbag production and deliveries have been keeping me busy (thankfully), and I am gearing up to do 2 local trunk shows. Things are good. So to get my writing flow back on track, I thought I would check in with a “Currently I am . . .” post. I’d love to know what you are doing currently. Please share in the comments below!

1. thinking . . .

cliche, but I’m thinking this year really flew by fast… and how it’s been more than a minute since I posted!!!

2.  enjoying . . .

winter break with my family and catching up with old friends . . .

3. feeling . . .

like curling up in my bed and watching old black and white movies while I watch the rain fall outside my window ☁☂☁

4. wearing . . .

grey + black leopard leggings, my new cozy slippers and a grey dip dye DKNY sweater . . .

 

5. needing . . .

another piece of my mom’s Jewish Apple Cake . . .

6. wanting . . .

see #5

7. listening . . .

sadly, Judge Judy. My daughter loves this show and just joined me in my room for “girl time;” apparently Judge Judy has been invited to girl time today . . .

8. making . . .

mental notes on posts I need to complete, and errands I need to run later . . . it’s called multitasking people. :)

9. eating . . .

sadly, nothing.

10. drinking . . .

water, but thinking of coffee . . .

Happy New Year guys! Be safe and have fun. I’ll see you next year!!

Bee

Randomocities | Second Guesses . . .

August1_thelookbookphilosophy.com

Hard to believe it’s August. July was a whirlwind of travel and events, full of good times and lots of family. I was even able to check off a few things on my immediate goal list. And for an avid list maker like myself, that is a bonus! Last month one of my goals was to get my shop up and running. Well, I did and it is live. (yay!) But I gotta tell you, I really fought with that one. I wanted to share this with you because the internet has a way of making things look beautiful and easy. People share bits and pieces of their lives and their projects and it all looks so fabulous. The people I truly admire are the ones who share the trials that come along with it. As an entrepreneur, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs with my business. Entrepreneurial blood runs through my body, and even with the hardships, there’s no way I can stop! I’ve tried, both willingly and unwillingly. But that doesn’t make it any easier for me. When you are the head of a small company, you are the one who has to make all of the ultimate decisions. And sometimes that can get overwhelming! Especially if you have have incurred negative consequences to some of your decisions in the past. Sometimes those experiences come back to “taunt” you. They can try to trip you up and make you unsure of your next step.

I had a hard time deciding if I should wait to open my shop until the new handbag styles came in. Since you all know about the snaffu with the new designs, you know that I have been waiting a long time. During the down time I have continued to create, and blog and brainstorm and create some more. I’ve been traveling and photographing things I love and doing all those things which are natural for me. And all the while a voice inside kept telling me to “start with what you have.” “Start where you are . . .” I even wrote a post about it here. I kept getting confirmation in unexpected places. When talking to friends, somehow the topic of starting where you are would come up. While watching TV, somehow someone on the telly would mention the fact that “all you have is now, this moment. Use what you’ve got.” While reading a book, I would come across similar themes. I took it as more than a sign. I took it as a sort of law of life. I know for a fact that momentum creates momentum. So once you start, you will inevitably be lead to the next step. And since I didn’t have exactly what I wanted to have on hand, I chose to use what I did have. I received so many well wishes, encouragement and inquiries. Thank you to all of you who texted, commented on social media, and purchased goodies from the shop. It really let me know that my decision was one that was right for the moment.  Your encouragement also gives me fuel to keep creating and filling up the shop with mas goodness!! I’m glad action won out over resistance, fear of failure, and all of my second guessing. In the grand scheme of things, life is about learning and growing. And as long as I am in the midst of growth, I’ll take that as a +.

Is there any thing in your life you are second guessing yourself about?

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Randomocities | It’s Officially Here . . . June!

Hello June1_thelookbookphilosophy.com.jpg

Well, it’s offically here!  June. The month Summer begins. I love the month of June. My dad’s birthday is this month, Father’s day, the First day of Summer, Kids will be out of school in 2 weeks . . . the list goes on. I am looking forward to the change of pace around the house. But honestly, there is a bit of apprehension that goes along with Summer for me. For one, it means, ERRBODY in my household is home. Husband and kids. I work from home and having everyone at home creates another dynamic that I find hard to balance. I’ve been trying to think of ways to make things flow a little better (for everyone) around the house during summer break. I’ve been thinking that this summer, I will schedule specific work hours for myself. I am scouting good places to work from outside the home. I would love to partake in a co-working space, but I don’t want to have to drive too far to get there, and there are none in my immediate area . . . (ding! ☀Business Idea!! ☀) So it looks like I will be perusing local coffee shops and libraries. This summer I am putting the kiddies in a 1/2 day summer camp as well. They need more activities with other kids, and the opportunity to make new friends.

So how does your schedule change in the summer? Have you found a way to balance your schedule during the summer months?

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