Thursday, December 11, 2014

Time For The World To Split Open

"What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open."
Muriel Rukeyser

Today I cried.

I didn't cry because my son fell and gashed his forehead yesterday.....which led to an entire night at the ER waiting for a 15 minute treatment.
I didn't cry because I have finals this week and I can't seem to pull myself together to do my exams.
I didn't cry because I'm exhausted.
I didn't cry because I'm lonely.

I cried because I watched a fashion show. Yes, a fashion show. A Valentino Couture show in New York celebrating the opening of a giant store on 5th Avenue.

I cried my eyes and my heart out.

Why was I crying?

Was it because of the clothes? The designs?

No. They were beautiful though. But they didn't make me cry.

I cried because I wasn't there with them. I wasn't sitting in the front row.

I cried because I wasn't one of the 'beautiful people'.

I cried because my American Dream hasn't come true.

I cried because I'm bored.

I cried because I don't like my life.

I cried because I'm not myself.

So judge me if you like.....heaven only knows.....I'm judging myself as I type.

But I just want to tell the truth.

Did the world split open? I'm going outside to look.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

For the Record......

It's one of those days. Crystal clarity. I know what I have to do. What I can do. What I would like to do.

I want to type it out here for the record.

I am a Designer, serving as a Personal Style Specialist.  I help woman feel Spectacular! Beautiful, Confident, Feminine and Special.

What I would like to offer-

Plan A.

A 3 day Immersion with me in California

Day 1 Exploring your style, creating your Leading Lady, removing all of the emotional crap too!
Day 2 Shopping! One High Fashion ensemble, from head to toe! Your STAR power ensemble. And then a wardrobe of 5 more looks. Also a proper bra fitting and full set of lingerie purchase. Spa pampering and dinner after your hard work!
Day 3 Cinderella becomes the Leading Lady! Hair, makeup, lights, cameras, action! A photoshoot to showcase your delicious purchases and make you REMEMBER you're a star! And there's a secret surprise!

What does it involve?

With a month of support before and a month after, the 3 days. $10,000 in fees. A minimum of $20,000 for shopping.

Plan B.

Experiencing the above throughout the year.

Plan C.

As a group of 6 at a time.

Plan D.

Experiencing this Internationally!

Plan E.

Personal shopping and consulting for you throughout the year with 4 visits.

Plan F.

I come to you. Plan and design your Boudoir Rose in addition to the above.

Plan G.

I am an Artist.

 I paint and sell.

 I teach.

I am a Flower Lover.

I make the most exquisite flowers and sell.

I teach a class in making composite Roses and Petales.

I am a Photographer.

I prefer to photograph women of a certain age. Show them how beautiful they are.

I also have group events where women come to get pampered and photographed in the most glorious gowns!

I am A Couturiere.

The finest of the fine. One of a kind couture. Garments that you and only you will own. Prices start at $6000 for a day dress. It is the experience of a lifetime!

Lingerie Couturiere.

One of a kind Lingerie to love every curve of your body! In the finest laces and silks.

I am A Love Maker.

Intimate dinners, soirees, boudoirs. Conversations about love, romance, intimacy, femininity, sex......This occurs anywhere above!

A Gift Giving Guru.

I will help you give him or her gifts that will take their breath away....that will bring tears to their eyes.

Love L'Amour....

I write about Love stories. I inspire living like everyday is a wedding!

Charm School for Women of A Certain Age....also for Little Leading Ladies!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I knew 'WOW' was coming! Owning The Power Of My Truth.

In my post 'Between Me And Me', I was seeking, searching. Longing for something! I could feel it! But I had no idea what it could be!!!!!

Well, here I am today! The vision and the purpose so clear! So sharp! So bright!


I shared my visioning, I think I shared my frustration in the next post. Something was about to be born. I had no idea! Or maybe I did!

Anyways, I get it now. My work, my life is about LOVE. The fashion, the roses, Sex and Mrs X, the longing, the heartbreak, the loneliness, has led to this.

My work is to help women fall in love. To guide us to our softness. To stand firm in our truth. To be our own Beauty.

That's it.

It has to be intimate, beautiful, breathtaking, intense, passionate, inspiring and magnificent!

I can do it no other way.

Call me a guide, a coach, a confidante, a designer, a beautifier, a love maker, an artist, a designer. I don't care anymore. My work is to lead us to love, intimacy, romance, unapologetic femininity! To find our power in the softness. This is all!

And I can't help quoting from the last part of 'Between Me And Me'. 'Your mind and body is just made perfect for love'.

I knew I was on to something that day!

And I said I wanted to come back and say WOW!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thank You Mother Body....I would Like To Say Good Bye

Mother Body

Four years ago, I did not know you.
Or did I?

You have been my friend, my rock, my support, my comfort.
Oh yes comfort.
To me and to my son.

In the most trying times, you have allowed me to be gentle.
To put what comforts me in my mouth.
To rest, as I  have been exhausted.

A cushion for my son.
The only source of nurturing and nourishing in his first years of life.
A barrier, a wall. Keeping in the pain as I was deprived of my needs as a woman.

I thank you.
I love you.
I honor you.

It's time.
I am ready to let you go.
Goodbye Mother Body.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Confession. A Prayer. A Promise. And A Prayer.

This is going to be another one between me and me.

First, The Confession.

Today is my first day back at school. I'm terrified.
3 subjects. A full schedule.
Then there's business school that I signed up for a couple of weeks ago. I'm ready to commit to my business fully.
Then there's life. My 3 year old fireball of energy who I love with everything that I am. Spending every waking moment with him is a gift, precious gift. Also a lot of work. I wish he could give me some of his energy.
Then there's the weight. As I step up to be the best of me, I must release this weight. I just don't feel good about myself. Period.
Then there's life again. I am a wife and the keeper of our home.

I'm overwhelmed. I'm terrified.


I know how much time I spend on Facebook. Mindlessly going through the news feed. I know how much time I spend with mindless activity. Mindless eating. Mindless existing.

I confess.

The Prayer.

I know what I am capable of. I know what the best of me looks and feels like! I know I have it in me to do this! And do this brilliantly!

I have been weak and now, I desire to be strong. To take my place.

Be organized.
Schedule my time effectively.
Be brave and courageous.
Wake up early to have time with myself, my source, to exercise and begin the day on a strong note.
All elegantly.

I need Grace. I have been weak. I desire to be strong.

I promise.

To be my best.
No more excuses.
No more reasons why I didn't. Why I couldn't.
No more mindless activity.
Be fully present in all that I do.
Honor myself.
Honor my time.
Make myself proud!

My ideal.

Wake up at 5.....for then become 4.
Yoga, Meditation, Prayer, Writing.
My anchor for my day. Grounded.
Check social media as I wait for the Prince to awaken.
When the Prince wakes up, mothering, home keeping.
As he plays, school, work, according to a schedule.
Conscious eating.
Conscious breaks. Chat with my soul sisters.
Rest when I'm tired. A nap. Recharge.
Back to school and to work.
Fully present for my love when he comes back from work.
Some school and work as father and son bond.
Social media before I go to bed. My reward.
In bed by 9.

Is this possible?

I believe it is.

And that's why, again, I say A Prayer.

Please give me strength.
Please give me wisdom.
Please awaken discipline.
Please give me grace.
Please strengthen my resolve.
Please give me MAGIC.
Please grant me favor.
Please fill me with love.

Please help me.

This or something so much greater. For the highest good of ll concerned.

And so it is.


Monday, August 11, 2014

I need to do away with the noise.

It’s been long. Too long. Trying to figure out this next chapter. Trying to come up with a plan.

But wait!

I AM in the next chapter! And I do have a plan! Or don’t I?

My mission is to Preserve Our Softness. I just want women to look and feel beautiful! ENJOY being Women. Why is this so complicated!

But no! I HAVE been doing the work! I HAVE!

So why do I feel like I’m not doing anything? That I still need a plan. This is what has to change! The way I’m looking at it!

I HAVE been mentoring women.
I HAVE been teaching.
I HAVE been listening.
I HAVE been designing.
I HAVE been shopping and styling.
I HAVE taken photographs, portraits.
I HAVE created art.
I HAVE made flowers.
I HAVE made head wear.
And there's more.

AND I do all of this while fully committed to my NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. Motherhood. Taking care of....being PRESENT for my son.

So why do I feel like I still need a plan? Why is life making me feel  like I fail....everyday?

It’s the noises…..need to get rid of the noise.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Between Me And Me

I haven't shared my posts in a while. I used write and post the link to Facebook. In the past year, even though I haven't written much, I haven't been inspired to share. So then the question would be, why do I write here? Why don't I just keep it all in my journal? Honestly, I don't have an answer, I write in my journal all the time, however, there are some things I want to share and yet not share......

Ah well.......

I presented some very specific requests to Spirit on my birthday about a month ago. I asked for change. I asked for courage and some fairy dust to be all of me. The fullness and richness of all of me. There has been a lot of turbulence and lots of little miracles.....the little ones are the best right? I just feel like documenting some of it here. It would be nice to come back and read one day and say wow!

For instance, I posted something on my 42nd birthday, here and it was so sad to come back on the 43rd and realize that nothing has changed. So you get my drift now.

Today, I just want to write about the experiences of the past week and yesterday to be specific. I have been on a quest to deepen my spirituality, find a way to listen to myself, find the answers within, the answers that I am desperately seeking for my life, my marriage, my career.

Michael Beckwith authored a book, LifeVisioning. One of my coaches recommended it to me last year and to be honest, even though I enjoy intensity, I really couldn't do all the work in the book. It wasn't time. I came across a guided meditation/visioning exercise which felt similar and in my eagerness to listen to my soul, find what it is that I'm looking for within, it's been very powerful and insightful. I've done it a couple of times. All with different and very interesting and inspiring realizations.

I did it again yesterday and it was so profound. I think this is what has led me to write today. I want to see what is going to happen with this and I want to come here and say 'wow'.....I know I'm repeating myself.

I entered my vision through the tallest golden gates you could ever imagine! So tall, it felt as though they were reaching the heavens! I didn't have to push, or knock or anything. All I did was gently touch the gates and they opened wide! In my past visions, I have seen a grand garden full of roses, another time, I saw a majestic wedding. This time I saw nothing. I looked to my left as I was asked to do in the vision and I felt the mighty wave come to me and land at my feet, feeling the strength of the vision even though I could see nothing. I was asked to look at my feet. The first time I did it, I was barefoot in the grass, the second time, I was wearing ballet flats, real ballet flats for a dancer. In this one, I was wearing the most delicate and ornate high heeled gold sandals. I was asked to walk over to the right to find a seating area. In other visions, I had seen a chaise and a throne. This time, it was a beautiful bed, with lots of pillows! Just the way I like it! I went to lie in the bed and I was asked to look across and for the first time in this vision, I saw something. I saw my own home. I was asked to look under my bed for a box. The box was to contain the core of my vision. In another vision the box was so opulent! Jewel encrusted! And inside was a giant ruby in the shape of a heart! (I was so moved by this heart that I quickly got online to find one! And I did! Here) Sparkling brightly! But this one was simple and quite plain.

When I opened the box, I found a flower. I picked it up and placed it in my palm and it started out being the size of my palm and then it kept one blossoming and opening up until it was about 2 feet in diameter! I remember how I was struggling to carry it along with me as I left that area. I didn't know whether to place it on my back, or in front, it was gigantic!

I was asked to go back and meet someone who was to support me with my vision. The first time I did it, I didn't see anyone. I felt so alone. The second time, I saw my Spiritual Teacher from many years ago! It was crazy! I hadn't thought about him in so long! And next to him was my best friend! Both smiling! I remember how I felt when I went to hug them both! I felt so much love, as compared to the loneliness the first time. In this vision, I saw my husband. I saw him as he was about 8 years ago, not as he is today. It was strange. But so vivid! But unlike the experience with my Guru and my best friend, I couldn't go to him. I froze.

Here where it gets......hmmm......I don't have the word.

I could not go to my husband. I felt this STRONG desire for something before I could go to him. I felt the need for something, healing, beautifying, softening. The touch of another woman, the love of another woman, healing and love from another woman who felt what I was feeling. It wasn't just a massage or something, I NEEDED love from another woman. I thought of my mother and I felt I needed my mother but she wasn't enough. I needed an entire ritual of healing, softening and beautifying. It was so intense! So strong! I couldn't stop crying.

So I didn't go to my husband. I left. In the visioning, I was asked to look back one last time before I left and when I did.....!!!!!!! It was magnificent! And also heart wrenching! I saw a space, a grand space, the rose garden and wedding combined..... full of women, all looking at me with the same longing I was feeling in their eyes! It was the strongest thing I have EVER experienced in my psyche! I could not stop crying! I could lie and say I was crying for the women, no, I wasn't. I was crying for myself. And seeing them....I don't know how it made me feel. It felt inspiring and burdensome all at the same time!

And so I left my vision.

Usually, I'm in a hurry to write down the details but this time, it was so VIVID, so emotional! I knew I wasn't going to forget a thing!

I sent my friend, the one who gave me the program, a FB message telling her about it. Her response was like a smile. I called my best friend and told her. In describing the longing to her, I was reminded of my friend Gabi, I wrote about her here. I needed Gabi! OMG! It was so real! I needed what Gabi used to give me anytime I went to see her! But Gabi is all the way in Germany and I am here in California! How is that supposed to work! But I felt it! I knew it!

I don't know where all of this is leading, but I do know there is an awakening happening! I know it!

Here's the last thing to end my day!

My best friend Selasie (fomerly known as Moiselle) sent this to me. And I was born on the 15th so my number is 6. Here is what it said in a terrible translation of a different language, obviously.

Number 6 are born to enjoy.. You don’t care about others. I mean you are always want to enjoy your life time, you are a person.. You will be very good in either education or work wise or business management! You are talented, kind (but with only people who you think are nice), very beautiful girls and guys, popular and more than lucky with anything in your lives. All the goodness does come with you. Your mind and body is just made perfect for love.
You are lovable by any other numbers. But if you are a number 6 man, you will experience kind of looks from most girls and will involve in more than few relationships until you get married. If you are girl, most of you will get marry/engaged early. You are a caring person towards your family & friends .
If you miss the half-way mark then you are about to suffer physically and mentally. Generally you will lead a very good inner-home happiness with nothing short of. You are a person of compassion, comfort & fairness, domestic responsibility, good judgment, and after all you can heal this world wounds to make peace for every life coz you have the great power of caring talent to make this world of love one step further…
Your best match 1, 6, 9. Good match 4, 5 !!!

I know God is speaking to me. I know it! I don't know what to do with all of this, but I know I am on the right path! I know it, I FEEL it!

And again, I'm writing here, because I don't want it to be hidden in my journal! I want to come back, read this and say WOW!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Falling In Love Again

Yesterday was my birthday and I decided to begin a little project.

'Falling In Love With Me'.

It simply started out as an idea to get dressed up, really dressed up at least once a week and take self portraits. I also created an Instagram account to support the project, so there will be some selfies too. No big deal.


I did it. The first session.....and there's something happening!

As you can see, I haven't written in quite a while. I simply haven't been inspired. But I'm here today.....and I'm not even apologizing as I usually do! There's something happening!

I consider myself to be quite articulate but today, I don't have all the words to express how I feel. I will try.

All my adult life, I have been dressing other women. And somehow, all these women have come 'first' and I have been 'next' and usually last on the list. OR is it just that it's been a long time since I appeared on the list at all, as you may know or not know, I have a 3 year old........ I'm not complaining, it's just an observation.

This project is not a marketing ploy or something to show my talents. It's about ME. Celebrating ME. Falling in love with ME.

After yesterday's photo shoot, which was quite challenging......the thought of planning future shoots for ME just made me giddy! Like a little girl! Like Cinderella! I feel like for the first time in my life I am making myself important. No one but me. I really can't describe the feeling.....Joy, excitement.....could it be love? Am I already falling in love with myself? I really don't know. All I know for now is that it feels GOOD.

What will happen next? I wonder.......

Here is the link to the Instagram account dedicated to Falling In Love With Me. I hope I return with more and more Joy. Like the Joy you see here!

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Am Leonarda

I haven't blogged in a long time.

That's nothing new.......

Today, I come to the pages of my blog with nothing but inspiration. And clarity! It's a wonderful feeling!

The past couple of months have been what you could call......'A dark night of the soul'. But morning is here and I feel blessed. And free!

There's so much I want to say, and  know I have all the days and weeks and months ahead of me to say it all.

Today, I just feel like declaring 'I Am Leonarda'.

If you've read my 'about', you'll know why I call myself Leonarda Renaissance Woman. No need to repeat.

However, my 'about' just goes to show that I've know that all long.

I own it all today! And it feels great! Liberating!

I would like to talk about my career today.

It's been quite the journey....finding my way upon coming to the States. Today, I have such clarity. It's the most beautiful thing!

Let's start with Fashion. My first love.

I had been struggling with how to move forward, be myself and still be inspired. But also be practical. Oh how I dislike the word. But it is part of life.

I have some answers. They have been brewing for a while now, but today, I feel like sharing.

I have had aspirations of creating the most exquisite designs, evolving in leaps and bounds from what I used to create in Ghana, and even though I say so myself (finally!), my designs in Ghana were a cut above the fray. I know that. However, starting out as a Dressmaker/Designer, a Couturiere, created some confines in my psyche. As much as my inner little Princess would love to play dress up with my clients all day, my 'practical' side (I told you, I don't like her very much.....) keeps on reminding me of things like cleaning. Yes, cleaning. 'If I design xyz, how are my clients going to clean? Launder? Pack? Travel?' My little mind holds me back.

I'm back in school, working on my MFA in Fashion Design after taking a year off to chase my tail......

We are encouraged to be creative, push boundaries, and then in the same breath, we are asked to design ready to wear for the market! It's confusing!


Today, I've found my way.

In every aspect of my career, in all my 'Leonardaness', I have one goal. To create beauty for women. My slogan for the longest time has always been 'Beauty Inside, On You and All Around You'. This is my box.

And so, in the area of Fashion Design, I have found three compartments of my box.

I will use other designers to illustrate my vision. Another thing we are encouraged to do in school; pick a designer who inspires us but NOT copy their designs....fine lines.

I am absolutely in love with Ralph and Russo right now! Their designs are not out of this world avant garde or something we haven't seen before, (another something that we are encouraged to be in and fresh! ), however, they are beautiful. Romantic and inspiring. Ralph and Russo not only creates beautiful one of a kind designs, they also create an experience for their example; sending a chauffeur driven Rolls to pick their clients up for fittings. Yep. That's just the beginning. Again, as a couturiere, this is the language I understand the most, one of a kind. I have been working behind the scenes. One woman at a time. That's all I can handle right now. My Fashion house will be known as Shirley Ann Austin. Next time I'll tell you about the name. SAA is going to be my R&R. Exquisite fabrics, designs, feminine, romantic, expensive, one of a kind. Yes. And below are some of my inspirations. These designs will not be about my ego as a designer and artist, we'll come to that. These will be about serving my client at her point of need. Customized dressforms as body doubles ensuring the most precise fit. I will elaborate some more in the future. It's so clear.

Then there's the next level. What about mass production? Serving more women than those who will find themselves in my atelier. Well, there's an answer for that and there's a whole story behind this. Such a beautiful story with the most beautiful and inspiring women! I promise to share in my next post. Promise. This line is called You Beautiful by Shirley Ann. It is made up of very simple and yet elegant designs and also made up of mostly knits and wrinkle free fabrics. Easy to wear and maintain fabrics. There is also a DIY component which includes parties! Yes!!!!! Again, I promise to share so much more. Today, I just needed to write it all out to believe it myself! My inspirations for this line are Donna Karan and Natori. Donna Karan with her artistic and yet 'woman and curves friendly draping'. Natori with her simple and yet very elegant designs. Both of them with their global influences....and I'm African remember? The name? It's meant to be all inclusive....again, I promise, I'll share the story. But envision this......'You Beautiful Woman.....You Beautiful Mother.....You Beautiful Wife....You Beautiful fill in the gap.' It's going to be just beautiful! You'll see! This is already in the works too! I'll share some real life models with you in the next couple of weeks. But for now, I'm just sharing my inspirations, Donna Karan and Natori.

Donna Karan


And finally! My ego needs to be fed! My soul! It's what it is! To create art! For the sake of art! Beauty! Creativity! With no worries about laundry, cleaning, maintenance, nothing! The kind of creative expression that the greats like John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and my chosen one (......for today......there are many)!Yiqing Yin experience. I don't even know what this line will be called, maybe there will never be a name! But I have made space for these creations!

In the past year, I have added Photographer, or better still, what I prefer to call 'Capturer' to my repertoire. Again, I have one aim. One goal in all of this. Creating beauty and beautiful experiences for women. Mainstream fashion would assume that these works of art will be modeled in the pages of Vogue, Bazaar editorials. That would be nice, but it's not my goal. To be able to create these works of art and photograph women in them, real women, all ages, shapes and sizes! Experiences captured in a photograph.....a moment in time, framed and on her wall! Oh, how this makes my heart sing! I've started playing with this too! And I'm not at liberty to share the images publicly, but I can sneak one or two in without revealing the identity of my model. But back to Yiqing Yin, her work stirs my soul. And I also need to do work that will stir my own soul and the souls of others, moving away from the practicality of everyday life.

Yiqing Yin

And this is mine. It's a beginning.

So. This is where I am and I like it.

There's a whole lot more of this. So much to share! I make no promises though.

Merci. For reading my thoughts and my heart's truth.

And stay tuned! There's something here for everyone!