Friday, March 8, 2013


I learned to love the holidays from my mother, who no matter how limited her resources, always found a way to make the holidays a magical time for her children.  My father, although present, did not help, so mom did everything by herself.

On top of her other duties of being a full time registered nurse, caring for us children, keeping the house, and making delicious meals; mom put up and decorated the tree.  She baked Toll House cookies, made peanut brittle, homemade fudge, and baked tons of pies.  Mom shopped for our gifts and wrapped them.  My mother made Christmas a joy that replays over and over happily in my memories.

I have several themes by which I decorate the house for Christmas: African American nativity scenes, African American angel figurinnes, needlepoint stockings and tree skirts, and red poinsettias.

My mother's last Christmas [before she died of congestive heart failure] was made joyful for her when she received my gift of an African American nativity set.  Mother had always wanted a nativity set and never had the resources to get one.  The one I bought mom was very special.

From Enesco's Mahogany Princess Collection is the 1998 Mahogany Miracle Entire Nativity Scene. Artist Ed Van Rosmalen's figurines are breath-taking in their beautifully inspired design and intricately detailed sculpture. Sleek, striking, sophisticated and timeless-thanks to Ed Van Rosmalen's infusion of energy and talent.  This made a wonderful Christmas gift for her.

My mom would sit for hours in the chair beside the table where the nativity scene was set up.  Sometimes she would touch a figure and she would smile................

I also bought mother angel figurinnes that were to me a symbol of my hope that she would be protected by angels.  My favorites were from the Ed Van Rosmalen Mahogany Princess collection and they matched the Mahogany Miracle nativity set exactly.

On the top of the list of decorating items are the Needlepoint Christmas stockings that come in different designs -- my mother loved the ones I bought her for her last Christmas. I hung them on the staircase, doors, and even at the Christmas tree to give the house an elegant and impressive look.

I replaced the tired angel tree topper with a very lovely one with silk robes and a beautiful china head.  I bought dozens of finely crafted angel ornaments by Mahogany Princess, Hallmark, and other good companies.  Strands of clear acrylic angel lights replaced old fraying ones.

Our old Christmas tree skirt was looking tatty, so I purchased a beautiful wool needlepoint dark blue background with a pattern of gaily colored Christmas ornaments.  The festive colors of this gorgeous piece raised the bar on the luxuriousness of the whole room.  This tree skirt measured 42 inches across.

 Poinsettia  -  Also known as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower, it’s said that this winter flower’s association with Christmas comes from a Mexican legend. The story goes that a child, with no means for a grander gift, gathered humble weeds from the side of the road to place at the church altAr on Christmas Eve. As the congregation witnessed a Christmas miracle, the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.

While considered by the ancient Aztecs to be symbols of purity, in today's language of flowers, red, white or pink poinsettias, the December birth flower, symbolize good cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration.

For mom's last Christmas I bought some really nice red silk poinsettia potted plant arrangements, made red silk poinsettia covered lighted evergreen window and door wreaths, and red silk poinsettia evergreen stairway garlands all enhanced with big beautiful gold glittery ribbon bows. 

My relatives all were very impressed and kept complimenting me, but I didn't do it for compliments, I did it to show my mother I appreciated her and everything she had done for me.  So these are the decorating themes I still follow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Silken Leo!

1.  Alpha Keri Wash
Cleanse with Alpha Keri Wash. It is a soap-free wash that will lather and cleanse your skin without stinging. Alpha Keri Wash is a lathering soap free clear wash specifically formulated for dry, sensitive and itchy skin. Recommended for everyday use for the face and body, Alpha Keri Wash lathers and cleans thoroughly without stinging, irritating, drying the skin or stripping the skin of its natural oils.  Also available in a gentle soap free Cleansing Bar.

2.  Alpha Keri Oil
Follow with Alpha Keri Oil, a total body/bath/shower treatment to relieve dry, scaly, itchy and sensitive skin.  Alpha Keri Oil is formulated as a total body bath or shower treatment to revive and relieve dry, scaly, itchy an  sensitive skin associated with a variety of skin conditions. It lubricates the skin without a greasy feeling and helps minimise the loss of natural oils from the skin.  Alpha Keri Oil moisturises dry skin by improving the hydrating properties of skin. Alpha Keri Oil is completely water dispersible and suitable for bathing (add Alpha Keri Oil to the bath as directed on the label), or applying to wet skin after showering. Suitable for use on the face and body.

3.  Alpha Keri Lotion
After your shower, moisturise with Alpha Keri Lotion to lock in moisture and soothe the skin.
Alpha Keri Lotion is specifically formulated as a moisturising treatment to help prevent and relieve dry, scaly, itchy and sensitive skin associated with a variety of skin conditions. It protects against the elements, locks and seals in moisture and relieves itching from dry and scaly skin. Recommended for everyday use on face and body, Alpha Keri Lotion in richly formulated so a little goes a long way.

4.  Feet Alpha Keri Ointment
Alpha Keri Ointment is a highly concentrated water-free and lanolin enriched formulation that helps manage and relieve skin flare-ups. Providing long lasting moisture, Alpha Keri Ointment repairs and protects the skin whilst preventing further moisture loss for up to 24 hours. Ideal for use on face and body, Alpha Keri Ointment is suitable for use on very dry, itchy and sensitive skin, eczema, dermatitis and other itchy skin condition.  Alpha Keri Ointment has been scientifically proven* to provide intensive hydration, long lasting moisture and protection against moisture loss for 24 hours.

5.  Face Alpha Keri Light Range
The Alpha Keri Light range has a light-textured formula which is quickly absorbed into dry skin. The light range is an effective moisturiser which feels lighter on the skin, perfect for people on the go.  The range includes Alpha Keri Light Silky Lotion 300ml.

I love and adore Keri skin care products.  Regular use has made my skin so silky and smooth it is unbelievable!


This was launched by the design house of Dana in the year 1932.The nose behind this fragrance is Jean Carles.Top notes are Citrus and spicy notes; middle notes are Jasmine, narcissus, rose and ylang-ylang.  Base notes areAmber, resins, civet and precious woods, รป sandal and patchouli. This fragrance is classified as Warm spicy and romantic.

I love Tabu. I mean…I looooooooove it, and I cannot imagine not having a little bottle of it tucked away for a Tabu fix now and then. :) I think it is brilliant. In my experience with it over the past couple of years, vintage Tabu is best. Tabu seems to age very well in the bottle, which is sadly not the case with all fragrances, some deteriorate even if they have been well stored.

However, the current drugstore version of Tabu is just fine, too, imo. So if you want to try a drugstore mini first to see how you like it, it won’t be vastly different than the vintage. It’s just that you will see more things in the vintage than you get in the current version. It lasts forever. It is spicy, sweet, smoky and animalic.

Tabu, for me, is evocative of Ava Gardner’s smoldering style, and I have read that it was a fragrance she wore.  There is a scene in a movie called "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" in which a sultry Halle Berry struts into Otto Preminger's office with a red rose tucked behind her ear and declares "I am Carmen Jones". If movies had "smell-o-vision" ... this is what she would have been wearing.

When I wear it I feel like I’ve stepped into another era. 

I adore Tabu. There's something so exotic and intoxicating about it's fragrance. It's very spicy and warm. It makes me feel good and sexy every-time I wear it. Tabu has always smelled too expensive to be sold in drugstores. The fragrance is similar to Opium. I'm constantly being complemented on how good I smell. So if you want to try a sexy and exotic fragrance I recommend Tabu. Get ready for the compliments! This fragrance is not for the timid.

I use Tabu cologne deodorant, the Tabu soaps make wonderful drawer sachets, and the dusting powder is lovely, too, silky and delicate way to enjoy this sensuous indulgence.  

I buy the HUGE vintage bottles of splash on Tabu by Dana that are just over 7 inches tall, just under 6 inches wide, and 2 inches deep, with silver lids that are on Ebay whenever possible. Right now I have two or three of these massive bottles.

Leolady's Style Commandments

1.  Buy the most luxurious fabrics you can find.  Go for silk, cashmere, wool, vicuna, camel's hair.  There is always a place in your wardrobe for a lush cashmere shawl for chilly evenings in style!

2.  Buy high quality, classic styles.  Silk tank tops, silk T shirts, silk tailored slacks, silk tailored skirts, silk evening type skirt, silk jackets/blazers, silk caftans, silk lingerie, cashmere sweaters, cashmere skirts, cashmere slacks, cashmere jackets/blazers, cashmere or camel's hair coats, cashmere berets and scarves, cashmere cape/stole, silk scarves, leather gloves,

3.  Most of your wardrobe should be in neutral solid colors.  I suggest you start with 2 colors -- I chose black and ivory/cream and buy one item of each color.  Then later on you can add your colorful items.

4.  Solid colors from top to bottom makes for a slenderizing line. 

5.  Add a contrasting solid or matching patterned jacket for flair.

6.  If you are curveaous, chose styles that skim softly over your figure flaws.

6.  Comfort and style CAN go hand in hand.  Silk caftans are ultra comfortable, yet elegant.

7.  Choose colors that flatter you and use them with dramatic flair in your accessories.  They provide a striking contrast with your neutral basics and add spice to your wardrobe.  My favorite colors are black, ivory/cream, crimson, turquoise, cobalt blue, and apricot/melon.

8.  You CAN mix classic with exotic styles if you are careful.

9.  There IS a place for quality Menswear in your wardrobe.  I adore Men's cashmere sweaters, jackets, and even coats.  Often the fit is roomy yet the tailoring is slimming.  Cashmere berets and scarves are the only way to go in the winter.  And don't forget menswear silk tuxedo shirts to wear with your lovely gold and gemstone cufflinks!


10. If you chose classic neutral pieces, you can go wild with your jewelry, or scarves, or whatever.  I find the silk scarves by Vera Neumann to be my favorites.  When I feel flush, there is always Ferragamo scarves.

11. If you are wearing exotic caftan, or something similiar, go classic with your jewelry.

12. Real jewelry is just as inexpensive as good costume jewelry if you know where and how to shop.  Pawn shops are a great place to find that strand of real cultured pearls, or that over the top ruby cocktail ring.

13. The same is true for high quality clothing.  Thrift shops, Re-sale shops, and garage sales are everywhere and treasures are out there just waiting to be found.  In my area is a fantastic store called 1/2 of 1/2 Off Name Brand Clothing.  Half of Half offers to customers the best department store and mall store name brands on current merchandise at the best possible prices, usually 1/2 of 1/2 of retail or more!  I have bought some trememdous bargains there for just pennies on the dollar.

14. I adore the designing work of Adrianne Papell, and Maggy London.  Ferragamo shoes are fabulous.  They are dressy, yet comfortable and I adore the low heels they have available.


15.  My all time favorite designer is Coco Chanel!  What I wouldn't give for an original Chanel suit?  And I love and adore her handbags!


Monday, December 31, 2012


I always suggest you start your quest for quality earrings with 3 classic pairs:

   1.  Diamond studs -- as large as you can afford
   2.  Precious gem studs -- in your favorite stone whether ruby, sapphire, emerald.......
   3.  Pearl studs

Then, you need to add a punch of color and impact.  After all, earrings are supposed to highlight your face and you can't do that with a dinky look.  Go for the bold!  So I suggest you look at purchasing:

   1.  a pair of large diamond earring jackets
   2.  a pair of diamond long dangle earring jackets
   3.  a pair of large gold earring jackets
   4.  a pair of long dangle gold earring jackets
   5.  a pair of precious gem earring jackets
   6.  a pair of large precious gem dangle earring jackets
   7.  a pair of pearl dangle earring jackets



With these 10 pieces you will be able to mix and match your way to a multitude of stylish looks.

Of course you will be looking for nice used pieces picked up for very little [relatively speaking] from pawn shops and from the vintage/antique jewelry area on Ebay.