Tag Archives: thelookbookphilosophy.com

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:

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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!


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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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!!

All Good Things . . .

Black_fringe_crossbody_handbag_ayanna_listenbee copy

ALC Haight Fringe X Body + Boho Luxe Collection necklace.

I’ve been on the path of growing my business solo for many years now. The majority of the time, it can be a lonely journey, requiring all of your attention to detail and everything else that comes with owning and growing a business. I tried having a partner in the beginning. It was something I wanted very much at the time. It didn’t work out . . . . like, at ALL. You’ve probably read some of my musings on how I grew in leaps and bounds from that experience. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But that was over 10 years ago, and I recognize the mistakes I made at the time, as well as where my desire for a partner was coming from . . . which I can honestly now say, was coming from a place of fear.

Back in college I had a partner. Another creative who shared similar tastes, energy and appreciation for design, textiles and creativity. Her name was Khrys. We gravitated toward each other in the fashion program at CAU and ended up collaborating on a collection for the CAU Fashion Department’s annual fashion show. We collaborated on the designs, selection of fabrics, colors, sourcing, fabric selection, styling and sewing. She had mad skills with textile dying, fabric selection, jewelry making, styling and colors, to name a few. I had mad skills with design, pattern placement, sketching, line organization and color selection. We complemented each others skills and filled out each others weaknesses. We worked seamlessly together. It was the best working relationship I had had thus far. Through the years we stayed in touch for seasons and lost touch for seasons, but somehow, there was always an underlying knowing, that we would find each other again and resume our collaborative genius. Last summer, after about 10 years of being out of touch, we found each other again, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Though we were both living on opposite sides of the country, we were both in the same place in our respective design businesses and decided to begin supporting each other with weekly calls of accountability and support. I can’t tell you what a difference it has made on the day to day. Together, we have been able to support each other in growing our businesses and staying on track to achieving our goals. We have even picked back up on our design collaborations and it feels just like it did 15 years ago. I can’t wait to share some of the projects we are working on together.

Stay tuned!

Create or Die.


You ever get in one of those moods where you just have to make something? Where ideas are flowing non stop to the brink of overwhelm? That’s where I am right now. I’ve been sketching like a madwoman and I’ve got so many ideas for new designs that I wish I had little elves that could just churn them out for me. This type of creative energy does not happen all the time for me . . . at least not this strong. But I do experience it often enough. The thing about it though is that it can really throw you off track if you let it. When creativity strikes with such force like this, I find myself starting on one project and being bombarded with ideas for another. Then once I stop and sketch or organize those thoughts and ideas, (because I don’t want to lose the ideas) I realize that I have not completed the original project I was working on. It’s a funny thing about being organized. I used to think I was soooo organized. People would even tell me that I was, but the older I get, I feel as though I am living in a constant state of organized disorganization. I wonder, is there such a thing as organized creativity? My mind tells me that I need to deal with these creative bursts in some kind of an organized fashion, but I’m not sure how feasible that is at the moment. Perhaps this is just part of the process of letting go and being in the moment. Maybe just the fact that I am executing and jotting them down is enough right now. And on that note, I leave you with this thought . . .

Make something beautiful today!

Wanderlusting . . .


Every few days or so I’m struck with wanderlust… honestly, I think that is my normal operating status. I basically live in a constant state of wanderlust. As a child, my family moved around quite a bit and I loved it. Discovering new neighborhoods, finding new places to shop, hang out and stroll through, that was adventurous to me. Being the new kid at schools wasn’t always fun, but even though I was shy, I made great friends all over the country that I’m still friends with to this day. As of now, I’ve been living in the same place for 14 years. I’m so thankful for my home, I love it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t restless. Until that next move, travel is my best friend. Travel doesn’t have to be long international trips, (although those are wonderful). Travel can be short one nighters, day trips or weekend jaunts, just as long as there’s a change of scenery. When I am traveling and immersing myself in new surroundings, observing the locals, and ogling architecture, I am in heaven. It’s totally mind refreshing and inspirational to me.

Here’s to finding new places to discover!


outfit deets:: Forest Tote, Ayanna Listenbee Collection (no longer available) | Striped poncho: Zara | leopard slip ons: Steve Madden | Bangles: Asos

Remembering the Why . . .


Hey guys! I wrote an article for BossMom Nation about pushing through the frustrations of running a business on your own. There’s an excerpt below. Head over to BossMom Nation to read the full article . . !

     As a mompreneur, running a business on a shoestring budget with little to no help is more than a notion. If something goes wrong. . . you have to handle it. Copy machine breaks down? You learn how to fix it or make a run to Kinkos. Materials don’t arrive on time? . . you get on the phone and track them down (and then work extra hard to keep everything else on schedule so there is no trickle down in the production schedule). When orders need to go out to customers you put on your shipping hat and ship them. Vendors need to be paid? Switch over to your accounting hat and get those bills paid. In addition to all the physical things that go on in a business, there is the mental work that takes place throughout the day .. .creative budgeting, creating product + implementing ideas for marketing, advertising, collaborations and even blog posts. Couple all of that with trying to accomplish something meaningful before the kids get home from school, or the baby wakes up from nap time, and things can feel a little overwhelming.

click here to read more!


Have a great weekend!

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