Guess what happened today? I officially realized my #FierceLivingat50 dream of becoming a designer when I wore my “Karma: One of Love’s Troubadours” scarf for the first time during my client meeting at Love ‘n’ Faith Cafe on 14th Street, NW, in DC.
In May, I partnered with VIDA to create a collection of four scarves that use artwork from my three books.
The “Karma” scarf I am wearing in the photos above incorporates my painting that appears on the cover of my yoga-inspired novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (available on Amazon.com). It celebrates a woman’s self-discovery journey and represents the main character in my novel.
Click here to learn more about my VIDA Voices scarf collection ($40 for each scarf).
OWNERSHIP is #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 6. Last year, I was blessed to read Discovering Your Soul Signature by Panache Desai. Desai’s book and online offerings (videos and wisdom Facebook quotes) have guided me in my healing work and helped me fully grasp the importance of knowing and loving myself.
Through this process, I am learning to accept and embrace my strengths and weaknesses. The end result is me claiming and expressing ownership of my magnificence each and every day while realizing life is a journey and I’m a divine magnificent being in process. Check out artist Tim Okamura’s painting, Sunrise on U Street (2013). Okamura captured my soul signature in his work.
My photographer Leigh Mosley captured my soul signature during a 2008 photo shoot of my eight archetypes for my book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon). Meet my Sapphire archetype below.
How are you claiming and expressing ownership of your life?
ENCOURAGEMENT is #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 5. Yesterday, my accountability partner Nia and I decided to go walking and talking in Wheaton Mall in Wheaton, Maryland (since it was cold outside and ABC Scandal was on hiatus!). During our hour-long walk, we laughed, shared, window shopped, danced in the aisles at DSW and the Guess Jeans store, smelled candles and tried lotions at Bed Bath & Beyond, drank the passion mint sample tea at the Teavana store (yummy), and talked about how we support each other. Our conversation reminded me of the power we each have to encourage ourselves and each other.
That’s why I took some time today to text several family members and friends encouraging messages by author Panache Desai that I like to read on Facebook. How do you encourage yourself and others?
#FierceLivingat50 Lesson 3 is WELL-BEING. For me well-being encompasses my spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial health. On Wednesday, my Ameriprise financial advisor Judy Weathers invited me to attend a “Women and Wealth” seminar.
During the seminar, I found myself thinking about the many ways Judy has helped me create financial well-being by having a positive relationship with money, setting financial goals based on my life’s priorities, budgeting, saving, and investing. This month, we celebrated 12 years of working together. I am truly blessed to have her in my life. How do you define well-being?
This week’s #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 2 focuses on RELATIONSHIPS. I have learned that relationships are some of my life’s greatest gifts. The relationship I have with parents is very special because we have been able to cultivate a great friendship.
Last year, my relationship and friendship with my father deepened when he invited me to help write his memoir about being a change agent with over 50 years of experience in race and diversity. To learn more about him, visit his blog: http://drjohnleeke.tumblr.com. Our writing journey officially began when we took a road trip to his alma mater, Indiana State University in Terre Haute (see photo collage). During the trip, he hired me to document his talks on race and diversity to three classes with social media. While we were at Indiana State University, he gave me a tour of the campus. He showed me the places where he and my mother met and fell in love just like his parents did 20 years earlier. We also visited his grandparents’ home and churches and many of his old stomping grounds in Terre Haute. Our road trip also gave us a chance to have some very honest conversations about writing a book together. Those conversations taught me how important it is to have patience with the process of listening and sharing. I continue to learn about and practice patience as we write his book. What have you learned from your relationships?
On June 10, I attended the White House Social (#WHSocial) featuring President Barack Obama’s first-ever Tumblr Q&A session on education, college affordability, and student loan debt reduction. I had a front row seat in the State Dining Room. Being able to see President Obama, one of my #FierceLiving heros, in action was a HUGE life moment for me. Click here to read about my favorite #WHSocial moments. Watch my Vine video too.
After the event, I was able to snap a selfie with the President, say hello, and shake his hand. What a lucky woman I am!
Check out photos from my #WHSocial adventures below.
Today I have been reflecting on the words of the late South African President Nelson Mandela (see above) and President Barack Obama (see below).
“You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.”
Their wise words remind me how grateful I am to my parents and my ancestors for blessing me with the opportunity to receive as much education as I desired. The education I received as a student at Kenmoor Elementary School, Kenmoor Junior High School, Elizabeth Seton High School, Morgan State University, Howard University School of Law, and Georgetown University Law Center became my gateway for pursuing a diverse career path as a lawyer, investment banker, knowledge manager, business consultant, artist, author, nonprofit senior program officer, yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner, and digital communications professional. My education was a gateway to #FierceLiving … being too bold for boundaries.
I was truly blessed to receive financial support from my parents for my primary, high school, college, and law school education. I used a student loan to pay for my graduate law degree at Georgetown and spent several years paying off the debt. Those were lean years for me. Nowadays students are faced with enormous debt. College affordability is a huge challenge. These two factors create barriers for people to obtain a higher education.
Education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt are three areas I am passionate about supporting online and offline. My passion is rooted in who I am as a daughter of two educators and an aunt to a niece in college with student loan debt and nephews in elementary school who will most likely face student loan debt. They are the reasons I applied to participate in the White House (#WHSocial) Tumblr Social on June 10 where President Obama will engage with Tumblr followers in his first-ever Tumblr Question and Answer session on education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt. Tumblr CEO David Karp will moderate the session.
Guess what happened this afternoon?
The White House selected me to participate as social media leader in the #WHSocial. So be sure to follow me on my Tumblr blog and as @anandaleeke on Instagram and Twitter next Tuesday starting at 3:30 p.m.
On May 28, I successfully completed my Prevention Magazine 28-Day Challenge. During the #28fitdays Challenge, I used social media on a daily basis to share photos of my healthy living journey.
Sharing my journey via social media strengthened my healthy living commitment, created community with other women who participated in the Challenge, provided a cheerleading choir made up of my social media friends and followers, and offered greater accountability especially on days when I felt like skipping my fitness routine. The end result is a deeper healthy living practice on my road to #FierceLiving at 50.
So what’s next for me?
I’m starting a 21-day fitness challenge called Body Reboot on June 1 to sculpt my core and increase my weekly running. I’m also planning to attend Mint Condition Day sponsored by my gym on June 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Marie Reed Elementary Soccer Field, 2200 Champlain Street, NW, Washington, DC. If you are in DC, click here to register for the free event. See you there!
My #FierceLiving Fashion starts with bright colors. I love wearing bright colors when I facilitate workshops, moderate panel discussions, give talks about my books, and attend conferences. Ann Taylor Loft, Dress Barn, Forever 21, H&M, Lettie Gooch Boutique, Macy’s, Marshall’s, Target, and Violet Boutique are some of my favorite places to shop for these events.
This week, I facilitated a nonprofit digital storytelling workshop for my client, Serve DC’s National Service Program Director Institute. I wore bright colors: purple Ann Taylor Loft pants and white t-shirt, blue Dress Barn blazer, H&M gold necklace, Forever 21 gold bangles and ring, and Anne Klein black peek-a-boo wedge shoes. My vegan black bowling bag from Violet Boutique kept me company.