Stepping Out Blog

The Hairstyle For YOU!

As a transgender woman, you may have decided to grow your hair long. During this time, and after it has reached a certain length, you will want to see a hairdresser to have it styled. Read on to learn how to find a hairdresser who understands your needs and how to discuss your desired hairstyle so you get the look you want. We will also look at what hairstyles are best suited for thinning or receding hairlines.

Finding a Stylist

The first step to having a great hairstyle is having a great stylist! Most woman have used the same hairdresser for many years. They have built a bond with their stylist and have placed a lot of trust in them. I have been seeing my stylist, Ashley, for at least 20 years! So of course I turned to her for help with this article. If you see a woman with a great hairstyle, compliment her and ask for a referral. I’m sure she will gladly recommend where she goes. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait over a month to get an appointment though. A good hairdresser is busy and her schedule fills up quickly. Most women make their regular appointments in advance, so be prepared to wait for an opening.

You could also call a well-known salon, local hairdressing school or visit a walk-in only chain store to find a stylist. The only problem with walk-in salons is that you aren’t guaranteed to get the same stylist again, since they don’t take appointments.

Hairstyling on my wedding day. I’d only trust such a special day to a 20 year relationship!

Finding a Hairstyle

Your hairdresser will want to get to know you and what you’re looking for before she begins work on you. It will be best if you go to your appointment with photos. Ashley suggests consulting magazines, Pinterest or other images on the Internet. She also reminds us to be realistic when choosing a style. If your hair is only shoulder length, don’t choose a style that goes to your waist. Or, if you have straight hair, don’t choose a style that plays with a lot of waves and texture. If you are new to long hair, you may want to just start with a simple cut because blow drying, styling, curling, straightening, hairspraying and colouring take a lot of time and skill to maintain.

Ashley also recommends that you have an honest discussion with your hairdresser about your needs and wants as a transgender woman. If you aren’t far into your transitional journey, or are experiencing more masculine hair issues, make sure you have an open and honest discussion about it.

Hairstyle photos, along with the expertise of your hairdresser will go a long way in achieving the look you desire.

Best Hairstyle for Thinning Hair

Ashley recommends combing hair back to cover a thinning crown. You can “tease” hair back to add volume and lift in upper thinning areas. You may also want to consider extensions. If the area in concern is very thin, small hairpieces are available to glue or pin in place. Make sure if you are getting extensions or a hairpiece that it is an exact match to your natural hair colour.

If your sides are thinning, a side part with swooping bangs will work with and dramatize your look. You could even grow your hair long on one side and shave the other side for a dramatic effect.

Side part and side styling will work well with receding sides.

Put your faith in your stylist and she will encourage an amazing hairstyle for you.

How Much Does it Cost?

When it comes to hairstyles, men and women are not equal in the cost. Woman can expect to pay at least $35 for a haircut, with additional add-ons for blow drying and styling. If you want your hair coloured or extensions applied, it can be well over $100. Have the discussion with your stylist before she does anything so there are no surprises. Plan to spend at least 45 minutes at your appointment for just a cut. This includes time for washing, cutting, drying and styling, and of course some gossiping!

Caring for Your Hairstyle at Home

After leaving the salon with your beautiful new look, you will need some products to assist in home styling. Some basic products to have on hand are hairspray, voluminizing spray or powder, bobby pins, and of course a comb or brush and shampoo & conditioner. With so many products and brands available, consult your hairdresser for what’s best for your hair. She may have products available for you to purchase there, or you can visit your local drugstore or beauty supply shop.

Recently I made an appointment with Ashley just so she could teach me a few ways to style my hair. I paid her for her time even though she didn’t cut my hair or do anything different to it. It was well worth it to gain knowledge and confidence. I was feeling like a little kid, just putting my hair in a barrette, but now I feel like a polished woman in my look.

When it comes to hairstyles, communication is key. Be honest about what you want. Tell your hairdresser what you don’t like and any problems you are experiencing. Work together to come up with a manageable beautiful solution. Build a relationship with each other and don’t forget to have fun with the process!

More About Ashley

Ashley, is an inspiration to me. She has a tattoo that says “I am the strongest girl I know.” And it’s true. She is the strongest girl I know. She is also the most accepting, fun and beautiful woman I know. So of course I would recommend her to you. You can find Ashley at Hairport & Layover Luxuries in Simcoe, Ontario. The phone number there is 519 426-8292 and Ashley’s facebook page is Hairport & Layover Luxuries. She would be more than happy to help you with your transition in hairstyles and makeup.

How to Keep Your Pretty Things Pretty!

Let’s face it, I know some some of you have all of your secret, pretty things hidden away in a duffle bag in the back reaches of your darkest closet! But when you get to pull them out, wouldn’t it be lovely if they were still beautiful and not a dusty, wrinkled mess? Here are a few tips to get organized and be pretty at the same time!

Choosing a Bag

Your bag should have several side pockets and a large interior opening. In this case, size does matter! Choose a bag that is much bigger than what you think you will need. This will allow your items enough room so they don’t get crushed as well as give you room to expand your collection. You will also want to get a cosmetic roll up bag. These bags have multiple pockets and roll up into a tight compact bag.   One more bag to invest in would be a velvet shoe bag. This will protect shoes from scratches. It will also protect all the rest of your items from getting poked by a high heel or getting dirty from the shoes.

Dividing Your Items

Separate your items first. Place all small items in a cosmetic bag. Items for this bag include jewellery, scarves, pantyhose, makeup, hair and nail accessories. Put shoes in a separate shoe bag. Wigs and breast forms should be stored in a box or zip closure bag with tissue paper. And last, separate your clothing, preferably into outfits. Skirts with blouses or slacks and tops that you wear together. This will save you time if you only have a a short time to dress, your outfits will be ready and waiting for you. You may also wish to place bras, panties and other lingerie all together in a pretty lace bag.

Packing Your Bag

Use the exterior pockets for lingerie, pantyhose and scarves. The cosmetic roll up will fit into the exterior end pockets. Reserve one side of your bag interior for heavier items like shoes and boxes. Carefully wrap all clothing in tissue paper and roll tightly. This not only saves you a ton of space, but, when done carefully, minimizes many wrinkles. There’s nothing worse than finally being able to slip into that silky blouse and finding it a wrinkled disgrace. Place clothing in other side of the bag interior. This should leave room on top for your purse or other accessories. One last thing you may want to add to your bag is a photo album. Include photos of yourself or inspirational photos to help you add to your secret bag.

Place a checklist on the very top of everything in your bag. This will assist you next time you dress so you don’t worry about leaving anything behind. Make sure you update your list as you add or delete items. This is especially helpful with small items like cosmetics and hair accessories.

Create a checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten to pack anything after dressing.

Storing Your Bag

Finding a place to store your bag may be the trickiest part. Choose a location that is easily accessible. You want to be able to bring it out whenever you want. Easily accessible places may include a closet, your car, the garage, basement or other spot on your property. Just make sure your bag isn’t going to end up taking on a musty smell. Perfume doesn’t cover odours! Inserting a bag of lavender or freshening pouch in your bag will aide in odours.

If you don’t feel comfortable storing your bag on your property, you can rent a locker, use Lesada’s bag storage service or keep things at your office or a friend’s place. Where there is a will, there’s a way!

If you need to undress quickly, make sure to go back later and repack your bag with care for the next time you get to dress. Honouring the beauty of your clothes and belongings will strengthen the confidence you have in your own beauty. Taking the time to pack your bag with care will reduce stress during your special time of getting ready.

I hope you enjoyed this article, please comment below your tips for storing and packing your pretty things.

Eyebrow Grooming Essentials

I thought the eyebrow craze was going to be a quick phase, but it’s going as strong as ever! Here are some quick and easy pointers to make your brow grooming easy and gorgeous!

The Purpose of Eyebrows

Humans have eyebrows to keep sweat and dirt from getting into our eyes. Eyebrows also convey a  lot of expression when we are communicating with people. So when grooming your brows, remember to keep actual hairs in place and keep your brows in a neutral arch so you don’t look angry, surprised or confused all the time!

Tools Needed for Eyebrow Grooming

A basic pair of tweezers is the most essential for at home grooming. You may also want a small comb or disposable mascara wand to train hairs in the right direction. Other supplies you may wish to use are brow gel, and either mineral powder eye shadow, applied with an angle brush or a brow pencil. If you choose to use makeup, be sure to choose a shade the same colour as your natural eyebrow, and no sparkles. Numbing creams can be found at a drug store if you have a low pain tolerance. Typically, hair removal hurts more the first few times, then your body is accustomed to it, and it’s not so bad.

Where to Begin

Eyebrow grooming chart from cosmopolitan.com

Take a pencil and place one end at the edge of your nostril, angled straight up beside your eye (A). Where the edge of the pencil sits is where your brow begins. If you tilt the pencil to the outer corner of your eye, this is where your eyebrow ends (D). Tilt the pencil one more time, through the pupil of your eye, and this is where your arch should be (B,C). You may wish to mark these points with a brow pencil or other removable marker.

Now you have a basic outline of where to groom.

My Eyebrows are so Bushy!

If, after doing this, you discover your eyebrows are straight across, growing onto your eyelids, or way over on the side of your face, don’t worry! If you want to groom your eyebrows gradually, just make sure you do it evenly on both sides. Brow grooming will help open your eye and your face. It will give you more room to put eye makeup. Grooming  will also make you look younger, as heavy brows can weigh down and darken your eyes.

As this photo illustrates, you should remove hairs outside of the pink dot area. Hairs above the nose, between eyes should be removed first. Hairs growing on your eyelid and under brow bone should be removed. And last, remove any hairs extending beyond the outer corner of your eye. Groom from below, not the top of your brow, unless you have stray hairs growing on your forehead area. Remember to stand back, away from the mirror, frequently, to examine your results.

Once these hairs are removed, you will be amazed at how open and light your face looks! If this is all the grooming you want to do, it will be enough.

How Thick Should my Brows be?

Truly I think this is personal preference. Just as the frame of a painting can be thick, thin, plain or ornate, your brows should enhance and focus attention to your eyes and face. Eyebrows should not shock or surprise other people! Eyebrows also shouldn’t alter your expression making you look angry or surprised all the time. If you follow the natural shape of your brow bone and smile often at yourself while grooming, your natural, beautiful brow shape will emerge.

Advanced Grooming

Once you have your desired brow shape for everyday life, you may wish to enhance it more with cosmetics.

Brow gel will hold hairs in place throughout the day. Brow gel has a wand like mascara and it’s basically hair gel for your brows. Use brow gel to set powder colour.

Mineral Powder Eye Shadow and an Angle Brush can even out colour and fill in sparse areas in your brows. Powder colour is used when you already have hairs and wish to either darken them or fill in areas. Available at Lesada online store.

Eyebrow Pencils are used to draw on brows where there are no hairs at all. If you are using brow pencils, choose a shade lighter than your head hair colour. Take small strokes to mimic tiny hairs and definitely map out a starting, ending and arch point before you begin. Remember brows are like sisters, not twins, so it’s okay if they aren’t perfectly alike. Just be sure to give yourself a neutral expression without a huge arch.

When to Seek Professional Help

Many options are available to combat eyebrow grooming problems. There is waxing, threading, tweezing and tinting available. If you are feeling daunted, I would suggest seeking professional help the very first time you want to groom. This will lay the foundation for future at-home tweezing and give you a guide to follow.

Eyebrow Fails

My twelve year old daughter and her friend were giggling about eyebrows fails they had seen. My daughter said “You don’t want your brows to look like they were sponsored by Nike!” And that there, sums up everything you need to know about brow grooming! I will leave you with some funny pictures I found on the internet…

 

Mature Makeup Tips

As we age, our bodies and skin change, so must our makeup application habits and routines. Most YouTube videos and other instructional aides are geared to younger women, with already flawless skin and features, making learning cosmetics at an older age frustrating. But, it’s easier than you think to have a glowing, beautiful face over the age of 50! Read these mature makeup tips to find out how to solve problematic issues of mature skin and features.

Wrinkles and Fine Lines

The number one complaint of most mature people is the condition of their skin. Skin can lose elasticity and become thinner and papery over time. Practicing a good skin care routine can hinder the effects of aging. But if you already have loose, sagging, wrinkled skin, these simple practices can help minimize those conditions.

Ensure your foundation is the right colour. Many older women make the mistake of choosing the wrong foundation colour. A shade too light will make you look ill, sallow or saggy. Too dark or orangey will highlight lines and darken features in the wrong places. If you’re unsure about your colour, ask a cosmetics assistant when purchasing with mature makeup needs.

Use Foundation Primer. Foundation primer gives you a good base for your foundation. Primer fills in fine lines and wrinkles with a clear coat. Because of this, you don’t need to use as much foundation, minimizing caking and build up in your pores and wrinkles. Foundation primer is an absolute must at any age!

Foundation Primer, available at Lesada

Less is more. As you age, facial hair lightens and thins, reducing the amount of concealers required to cover beard shadow. Highlighting and contouring is less important as well. Skin imperfections such as acne and redness also reduce in maturity. All this means you don’t need to apply as much concealer or foundation, reducing the heavy, cakey look many mature women tend to have.

Choose Creams over Powders

I can’t say it enough, cream colours on mature faces are the very best mature makeup choice.

Cream Eye Colours – Eyelids become very loose and droopy in people over the age of 50. Powder eye colours don’t stick well and can shift or smear on loose lids. It’s also very difficult to apply powder colours to eyelids that move around a lot. Using a cream colour is simple with your fingertip or brush. Cream eye shadow does not crease, fade or shift after application.

Cream Blush – Cream blush on your fingertip works into fine lines much easier than trying to grind a powder into wrinkles with a brush. Be sure to place blush high on your cheek bones to avoid exaggerating sagging cheeks.

Liquid Foundation – Just as with eye or cheek make up, liquid foundation gives a softer, warmer tone on your skin and will not build up or crease during wear. Apply with fingertips, a sponge or brush for a soft, blended look.

Lighten and Brighten

Over time, eyes can darken, especially if hidden behind glasses. If you wear glasses, or your eyes have sunken with age, lighten your eye makeup colours. Choose matte, soft colours in light taupes, creams and beiges. If you want to add colour or sparkle, do so sparingly to the outer corners or a touch in the middle of your lid. Avoid heavy eyeliners, false lashes or dark colours that will only drag down and sag your look more. A light application of mascara to the top lashes is all the mature makeup you’ll need to lighten your look and open your eyes.

Lighten eye makeup behind shadowy glasses

Accentuate Faded Features

Many people over the age of 50 lose features that were once prominent, such as eyebrows and hairlines. Make sure your mature makeup looks complete! Fill in fading brows, highlight cheek bones and darken lashes with cosmetics to complete your face. Lips can thin with age too, so use a lip liner to plump up your look and accentuate your smile. Lip liner also prevents lipstick from bleeding into fine lines around your mouth.

Accentuate brows, cheek bones, lip lines and lashes to complete your look

Failing Eyesight

Putting makeup on when you need to wear glasses can be tricky! Invest in a magnifying mirror and good lighting. Most of your makeup can be applied while wearing glasses. You might like to try a long handled brush to put on simple eye makeup while wearing your glasses.

With these simple tips, you will be well on your way to achieving a glowing, more youthful look. If you still need more tips or hands on instruction, book a cosmetics lesson at Lesada or via Skype!

Confidence can develop and grow at any age, so don’t waste another minute, try a new, mature makeup look today! Find the products you need at Lesada.

 

The Future is NOW at Lesada!

Lesada

The world is definitely changing for the better! Cosmetics shops are introducing free classes for transgender women and giving free makeovers to people. Hairdressers are advertising that they are trans-friendly and clothing stores are offering gender neutral clothing. All of this is wonderful! When I started Lesada, this is the direction in which I wanted the world to go.  But it leaves me wondering why has it taken so long?

The Past

Lesada has been around for over 5 years. This hasn’t been long enough for many of my clients, but has also been cutting edge, ahead of the rest of the world. Five years ago, when Lesada opened, I offered cosmetics lessons to crossdressers and transwomen long before the term transgender was prevalent in the media.

Over the course of the past five years I have heard so many stories, met so many wonderful people and changed so many lives! I have always listened to what you want and need. Amazing confidence-building experiences and quality products were added to my inventory, as I could, to serve you better. My expertise has really flourished and I offer my expertise to you weekly, for free, through blog posts, free telephone calls and quick email response times. My studio is small, but very private, professional, beautiful and clean. All my clients feel special during their private one-on-one appointments.

The Present

I strive everyday to be a voice in the world on your behalf. Speaking on your hardships and recounting your successes. How proud I am when I receive an email or phone call about that one little step further someone has pushed themselves!

I work closely with my crossdressing clients, so I know exactly what’s needed and I have an unbiased view of your unique situation. Because I hear all of your stories, I have all of your experiences to draw on, not just my own. This makes me a great life coach and voice in the community. I am able to look at deeper issues and offer you much more than just makeup and clothing advice.

I am able to connect you to each other because I am connected to you! I promoted friendship through my Girl2Girls friend match up program and am constantly connecting people personally who need a mentor or friend. All this I do for free because I truly believe it’s important to encourage confidence in each other.

Lesada is focussed on beauty, empowerment and obtaining a natural, feminine look. Differing from many transformation boutiques, Lesada is far removed from fetishism, drag queen looks or sexual releases. Lesada is a beautiful space where you are encouraged to bring a friend or partner with you. This aspect has attracted many clients who are 50+ years of age, business owners, married, with children. Lesada is an open, inviting atmosphere. It is through beauty and empowerment, not through fetishism, that Lesada has made crossdressing more acceptable in the world. Many of my crossdressing clients have finally been able to feel the thrill of going out shopping or for lunch while dressed with me for the first time.

The Future is Now

I have been planning many exciting additions to the already amazing experiences offered at Lesada! As I work so closely with my clients I can see a great need for support and resources for wives and partners of crossdressers. More and more people are stepping out in confidence as I have encouraged you to do. This has left many wives to work through life changes as well. So, I am now offering coaching to couples and wives. This coaching is a strong support to encourage the healthy inclusivity of crossdressing into your relationship.

To stay ahead of the times, I am writing a guidebook for wives, speaking at women’s groups and connecting couples for friendship. I have also started a Facebook group called Crossing Paths, which is exclusively for cis-gendered female partners of crossdressers and transwomen. This really excites me, because there are little resources like this available to partners. The resources that are out there seem to be sexual or heavily biased by the author’s own experiences. Coaching is available through Leanne at Lesada right now! And the guidebook will be available in 2019.

Another exciting addition at Lesada is an online shopping page on my website. You will never have to wonder about the quality of products when ordering online at Lesada. I have chosen the best! And I made sure that shipping is free to you, because having to pay for shipping really sucks! Right now, the online store is only available to Canadians, which in itself is highly unique. And of course, all items are shipped in plain packages, for utmost discretion.

The last announcement that needs to be made is I am lowering the cost of my services. Yes, that’s right! I want you to be able to experience Lesada and everything that I am offering here. At Lesada you can have the complete look – the makeup, the clothes, the wigs, the breasts, and all the photos to create an unforgettable memory. Anywhere else you will have to experience your look piece by piece. And it’s just not the same. At Lesada you can enjoy all the feminine time you want. Unlike at a store, where they are on to the next person, Leanne allows you to take as much time as you need.

I really hope that you choose to invest in yourself by visiting Lesada! I am here for you and your partner, now, more than ever. Lesada will continue to offer the best experience you can imagine, full of love, acceptance and confidence! The future is now at Lesada!

~~Love Leanne

 

Top 5 Secrets Women Carry

Women are curious creatures, aren’t we? There’s tiny things we do, that we don’t realize we are doing. Things that maybe someone who hasn’t always lived as a woman would ever know. But I’m about to let you in on some of those little secrets. These things might seem insignificant, but really are a large part of a woman’s life. Even if she doesn’t realize it.

We Keep Track of EVERYTHING

Women write things in their calendar that only they know what they mean. A woman’s day timer might resemble hieroglyphics to some people. A big letter P or a red circle around a date will symbolize the first day of her period. This is important because the doctor always wants to know – even if you’re seeing him for an ear infection! Hearts symbolize anything to do with a love, obviously – a sexy meet up, an anniversary or an upcoming date with someone special. Dollar signs can be used to denote paydays or bill payment dates. We will also draw squares or circles around important appointments so they don’t get lost in the clutter of other to-dos.

Not only do we keep track of our own things, but we have to keep track of our kids’, husband’s, parent’s and friends’ goings ons as well. Heaven forbid we let them fend for themselves! They might miss an appointment, class, sports practice or special event if we don’t remind them of it! Expect colour coding or some other sort of denotation in a woman’s calendar to keep everyone straight.

women use symbols on the calendar

We Keep Memorabilia for Years

Whether it’s kids school work, ticket stubs, reminders of past lovers, or mementos from vacations, we can call up a memory easily. Just because we have this stuff doesn’t mean we look at it, we just have it.  And we have it because we have always had it, and we always will. This might not be a secret, because men hold onto mementos too, but unlike men, we don’t display these items. Our items are secret, tucked away into a diary or a nightstand drawer. We take them out when we are feeling hurt, they comfort us. We use them to jog our memory when we forget things or want to reminisce on when times were better. Once in awhile we realize we aren’t the same person we were when we enjoyed the item, so we pass it on to another woman who needs it on her journey right now.

We Are Too Hard on Ourselves

Women secretly think they aren’t good enough. We stress about not being home with the kids because we want to be a good employee or business owner. We obsess that we are too fat, too tired or too stupid. That internal monologue is always present, no matter how many inspirational quotes we surround ourselves with. We worry that we aren’t good enough in bed or that our house isn’t clean enough for visitors. Women stress about keeping their schedules intact or that the dog might be sick. We secretly tell ourselves that nothing we do is ever perfect. When we examine every aspect of our lives – Family, Career, Home, Finances – everything on it’s own might be great, but altogether, something is off. And we can never figure out what it is, even though we analyze it to death. This is a secret all women carry and we can only hope that one day, a partner will come along and carry the worry and burden with us and make it a little less heavy.

We are Secret Hoarders

Our houses might look pristine to anyone who enters, but somewhere, we have an uncontrollable urge to hoard a particular item. Some women have a large stash of mini hotel shampoos (for when we travel, because they are so handy…oh wait…here’s a new bottle in this hotel room too!!!!) Some women have a secret stash of household supplies like toilet paper or paper towel. Other women might have a junk drawer, filled to the brim with God-knows-what, for when we need that thingamajiggy. Day to day, we are normal people, with normal houses, but there’s always a secret hoarding instinct niggling at us for at least one particular item.

We Hate Shaving

If there were no men in the world we would be absolute savages! We would burp and fart and walk around topless and never ever shave ever again!!!! Sure, some uppity women might take longer to ditch the grooming habits, but after a couple months, even the Queen would say screw it to shaving. We groom ourselves to impress the men and conform to society, not at all because we enjoy it. P.S. we also hate pantyhose. There I said it.

 

So there you have it, a secret look at the things women carry inside them, without even thinking about it. It’s our way of life. If you ask a women about something on this list, she might chuckle and give you a sly grin, or she might slap you! Either way, take it as truth and love her as she is, secrets and all.

 

 

Transforming at Lesada

Two weeks ago I got married! My Bridesmaids, Man of Honour and I got ready inside Lesada studio. It was really a magical experience! All the hype, the planning, the emotions, came together into one big experience that made me realize how my own Lesada clients must feel when they are with me! It was really eye opening and thrilling and I want to share what the experience truly feels like!

Planning Ahead

As we all know, there is an incredible amount of planning that goes into a wedding. But only the bride knows just how much planning is involved. There are so many details to be worked out!

As with a visit to Lesada, some clients may have a lot of planning to do. You may need to rearrange your work schedule, rent a room, even concoct a story. But the most important plan is packing everything! Just as with a bride, there is a major trousseau to assemble in advance. I had a checklist of everything – veil, shoes, pantyhose, lacy panties, something old, new, borrowed and blue, fancy handbag, lucky penny in my shoe, and of course THE GOWN! Lucky for me, I only had one dress option! Many of my clients bring multiple outfits and I help them choose what they are going to wear for their special day at Lesada.

The Night Before

I did not sleep well the night before. My emotions were heightened, I was worried I had forgotten some major detail. I was excited and charged up! Tomorrow was the big day! I tried to sleep, but ended up waking at 4:00am. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and crept around the house not wanting to wake the rest of my bridal party. I got a drink, went to the bathroom and stepped out, in the dark, onto my back deck to do yoga. I was ready to face the day. I sent an intention to go with the flow, have fun and enjoy every moment!

My Lesada clients feel this way too. They tell me they are so excited when they arrive in London the night before! All the planning and emotions come to a head and miraculously, the day of the big event, things just relax and we live in the moment together.

Arrival at Lesada

When I entered Lesada the day of my wedding, I felt a rush of beauty, hope and love for everything that I had accomplished to bring me to this special day. I was overcome with pride in myself. I had endured so many obstacles in life, increased my confidence and self worth and made a lot of decisions to get me to this wonderful day, my wedding day!

As the owner of Lesada, I feel this same rush for my clients as they enter the doors. So much has happened to my clients to get them to the point of being able to walk through my doors for the first time. I am so proud of all of my clients! Many people are in awe of my small studio, but I know they are also in awe of themselves! They are standing there, amazed that today is finally the day!

Getting Settled

I already had my trousseau set up in a photogenic display and my table was cleared off to await Ashley, the hairdresser and makeup artist. But, should you visit Lesada, getting settled may include getting dressed. If you arrived in drab, you would first change into your feminine clothes and shoes. But, if you brought a large gown, such as my wedding dress, you could stay in a robe, as I did. It’s just too hard to walk around in a huge gown! I began my day with Ashley by choosing a Spirit Girl Seed Card. These cards are uplifting messages from your spirit and really set the intention for the day.  I always start my clients off with a card as it centres our thoughts and gives us a breath before the transformation begins.

My trousseau, all assembled

The Transformation

Ashley, my long time friend and hairdresser, did my hair and makeup. She pinned my hair up, which I have been growing out for a year for the occasion. It was all curled and pinned and swooped and I looked at myself in a whole new way! I haven’t had my hair this long in many years and I felt so pretty and special, very different from a usual day. I felt all grown up and couldn’t wait to show everyone how much hair I had!

curled, pinned and swooped

Then she did my makeup. I was at her mercy and just as most of my clients do with me, I said “Just do what you want.” Her methods were different from mine, but I stayed quiet and relaxed into the featheriness of her brushes. I tried to peek at what she was doing but then I thought, “No, I’m just going to look when she’s done!”

It was such a surreal experience and I loved being on the receiving end of what my clients feel when they are visiting Lesada. I wanted to experience everything! Ashley asked me if I wanted false lashes. I had talked to Jerry, my future husband about it. He wasn’t too keen. I told Ashley this.  She’s so awesome, she asked me “What do YOU want?” and in that moment, I wanted it all! I said “I want false lashes today.” Because really, if not today, then when? So she said, “Then you’ll have false lashes today!”

applying false lashes

It was then time to dress. The photographer had arrived! He took some pictures of me in my robe, touching my gown and looking in the mirror. Then he left so I could get dressed. It was a stressful time because my girls were in the house getting dressed along with trying to dress the flower girl and ring bearer. It was Ashley who actually ended up doing up my dress and tying on my beaded belt. She also fixed my veil in place.

I often help clients get dressed by doing up zippers, cinching corsets, fiddling with tiny shoe buckles and so on. Having an assistant to help you dress feels so special and royal, doesn’t it?

The Big Reveal

Prior to the big day, I had tried on my shoes and walked around the house to break them in. I had tried on the dress numerous times to get the fit just right. I had sat in Ashley’s chair for a trial run on my hair. But the wedding day was the first time all the elements were put together. I had never had the entire look on at the same time before. The photographer moved the mirror in front of me and I gasped! Again, just as my own clients respond, I was beaming! Wow! Was that me?! I couldn’t believe it!

I am always gleeful when my clients say “I had no idea I could look this good!” They stare at themselves, some get teary eyed, and many want lots of photos!

This was the case with me! I did all those things, then the photographer came in and we got down to business with the photos. So many photos!

The big reveal!

A Dream Day

All the planning, stressing, high emotions, everything paid off! The day was better than I could have hoped. I had so much fun, being the centre of attention, a bride! Everyone was smiling at me, knowing I was celebrating a wonderful day.

It’s like this when I go out with clients too. It’s a celebration of becoming your true self! People smile at you, are very helpful and proud of you. Some of you may be surprised, but when I am out with clients for lunch or shopping, that is the reaction we get. The world is changing and people are welcoming and loving.

Thank you for reading my experience on the receiving end of transformations at Lesada. It has really given me an insight as to how my clients feel and what they experience.

I invite you to share in the Lesada experience! I would love to welcome you here and assist you with your own personal transformation. You are definitely worth it. And now that you know how wonderful it cam be, you simply must experience it yourself!

Thrift Shopping 101

If you’re tight on a budget or just want piles of new clothes regularly, thrift shopping is a great way to achieve a new look. But sometimes that huge store, with limited sales staff can be overwhelming! Read on to learn thrift shopping basics so you can maximize your time spent there and make the most of your budget. Have fun completing the Thrift Store Scavenger Hunt at the end!

Make a List

Before going to the store, figure out what it is exactly that you’re looking for. Maybe you need a blouse to go with that great skirt you already own, or maybe you need a new spring jacket to feminize your look year round. If you already own a closet full of shoes, don’t put shoes on your list, just focus on the aspects of your wardrobe that you need to fill.

Go Prepared

When I go thrift shopping, I always wear a tank top and nylons underneath, even if I’m wearing jeans over top. This makes trying things on much easier and gives me a good idea of what dresses/skirts or sweaters are going  to look like. If you are shopping for dresses, you may want to wear a sandal or smaller shoe, even if shopping in male form. It doesn’t look nice to wear big ugly man boots or work socks while trying on a pencil skirt! Think ahead and dress in something that will go with what you are shopping for.

Grab a Cart!

It’s inevitable that you will find more than what’s on your list and you’ll want a cart to carry it all around. If you’re still in the closet about purchasing feminine clothes, a cart is also a great way to hide things instead of carrying them around in your arms.

Use a cart to carry items or hide items

Store Layout

A store such as Talize (my personal favourite), Goodwill, Value Village, etc are all laid out by categories. There’s men’s wear, children’s wear, women’s wear, household goods, shoes, accessories, and sometimes furniture. The women’s clothing category is divided into subcategories such as outer wear (coats & jackets), dresses, skirts, casual pants, dressy pants, active/workout, sweaters, long sleeve blouses, short sleeve blouses, short sleeve tops (t-shirts), and so on. It sounds overwhelming, but if you have a list and you want to find a knee-length black skirt, just head over to the skirt aisle and you don’t even have to look at the other stuff!

Aisle Layout

Once you reach the aisle you are looking for, you will find that the racks are arranged by size. Small, Medium, Large for tops, and 2-20+ for pants, dresses and skirts. This can become a little tricky if you don’t know your size. My suggestion is that sizes 0-6 are typically for teenagers and very small people. Sizes 8-14 are for average size women and 16+ are for larger women. However, when I am thrift shopping, I tend to look through everything because sometimes things are put away incorrectly and you just might find a gem in the wrong size, or you might find something that is a bit too big that you could have altered to suit you. Another thing I’ve found is that teen sizes are mixed in with women’s racks. So something that says Large, might be a large teen and is actually itsy bitsy on a large size woman. After sorting by size, the racks are then sorted by colour! Narrowing your search for you even more. So again, if you are looking for a knee-length black skirt, go to skirts, find your size and search the black colour section. Super simple!

The fun part!

Now that you’ve narrowed your search down drastically to what you want to hone in on, you can start browsing! You will find some fun pieces, some you know won’t suit you or maybe others you can alter to fit or dress up with embellishments or accessories if you’re crafty. Personally, I love shopping for vintage or designer, unique pieces. You never know what you’ll find! The time seems to fly by and you get caught up in your own little world while looking at the racks. And guess what?! Everyone else is in their own little world too. So don’t worry about being spotted in the women’s aisles because no one is paying attention to anyone else. The racks in the dress and skirt aisles are quite tall, so you will be hidden from most of the store when you are among them anyway. Fill up your cart and let your imagination go!

The Fitting Rooms

Yes, try your finds on!!! I urge you to do this to avoid disappointment and wasted money. The great thing about thrift store fitting rooms are that they are unisex. Often they have mirrors on the inside of the fitting room as well as the outside. So you can change and view your new looks in private. Often,  you are limited to take only 9 items in with you at a time. So if you have more you want to try on, just leave them in your cart outside the door. You can switch them out after you’ve tried on the first batch. If you end up not wanting what you tried on, leave it with the fitting room clerk.

What to Avoid

Do not thrift shop for lingerie or panties. That’s just ick. You know why.

If it needs to be repaired and you don’t have the skills or bravery to ask someone to repair it, don’t buy it. It will end up sitting in your closet making you angry.

Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. If you think you’ll “make it work” or you think “I’ll lose some weight” or you’re just not sure about something, leave it at the store.

Don’t buy outdated fashion. Unless you are going for the entire, vintage look, and know how to rock it, don’t buy obvious 80’s/90’s garb. This is a pitfall of many crossdressers. You know what woman are wearing today and what looks good, so stick with current fashions. Or better yet, stick with timeless pieces like a black dress or jeans and a nice top.

Avoid distractions and nostalgia. If you are making an effort to improve your feminine wardrobe, focus on that. Don’t wander into the books or men’s wear. Don’t buy something because you used to have it or your mom used to have it. You will only go home disappointed that you failed. Focus on your list, have fun and soon you’ll look forward to going back!

Avoid outdated fashion or nostalgia.

Scavenger Hunt List

If you are having trouble working up the bravery to go thrift shopping for feminine clothes, try this scavenger hunt list! You don’t need to buy anything, just go look around and familiarize yourself with the store. Score 5 points for each find.

  • A red satin dress
  • A black and white checkered skirt
  • Yoga pants with a blue stripe down the leg
  • A white t-shirt with a picture of a panda bear on the front
  • A floppy hat (15 bonus points if you try it on)
  • A pair of pink high heels, size 7
  • A fur coat (20 bonus points if you try it on in front of a mirror)
  • A green silk fashion scarf
  • An orange purse with more than 4 pockets in it.
  • 5 bracelets or pairs of earrings with stones on them
  • Chat with a female shopper about her purchases and what she is looking for (50 bonus points if you smile and make her smile back)
  • A chain-link belt

Thrift Shop like a pro and have fun doing it with these basic tips!

If you want a shopping friend, consider shopping with me, Leanne from Lesada! I know some great places in London, Ontario and can help you find a look that works for you. Visit https://lesada.ca/shopping-excursion/  to learn more!

 

 

Getting Past the Past

There’s a beautiful song I love called Past the Past by Jess Moskaluke. Please listen to it now… I think we can all relate in someway, can’t we? Today I’d like to focus on a few of the specific lines. As someone who can very much relate to this song, both personally and on behalf of clients, I want to examine why it’s hard to get Past the Past. And as a Life Coach, I can say that change is possible and you can do this!

Too Scared to be Happy Now

The fear of success keeps many people from starting their own business, going out on dates, making new friends or moving to a new city. What if we are shot down? Or worse, what if we are successful? If we start doing new things, that’s going to more learning, more new people, more money spent. Too often we cling to the familiar. It’s so much easier to live with what we know how to manage. We tell ourselves that it’s always been this way, how can things change?

People who are unhappy might not even know it!

Many of my crossdressing clients are afraid to wear makeup for the first time in case they don’t end up looking pretty. It’s easier to not know what they could look like, rather than destroy the fantasy with what could possibly be, a terrible reality check. But being scared to take that next step holds them back from being truly happy with themselves. It holds them back from being themselves in public, making new friends and experiencing ultimate success.

People I Depended on Didn’t Show Up

This line really hit me in the gut. When I was going through my divorce with an abusive husband, I lost a lot of friends. Mostly because they weren’t there for me during a very difficult time. I couldn’t get over the fact that my best friend wouldn’t even talk to me on the phone. She wouldn’t get together with me or check in to see how I was doing. She told me later that she didn’t know what to do. So she did nothing. My family was there, but they didn’t know how to support me and encourage me in a way to help me grow. Everyone was emotional and their feelings and hurts hindered my growth and ability to move on and away from the past.

My crossdressing clients also describe this hurt. Many crossdressers stay in the closet out of fear of hurting the people who love them. They feel that they can’t be happy when they are changing someone else’s life so drastically against their wishes.

You Give me Love I Didn’t Earn

I turned to Internet chat forums and social platforms to find new people to get me through my difficult times. Those people came through for me. They loved me where I was at and were there when I needed an impartial ear to listen. But I was always wary of why they were there. My own friends weren’t there, so what did these people expect of me in return? As it turns out, nothing! These people came to me with love. They had been there too and wanted nothing more than to give back in appreciation of others who had helped them through their own struggles. These strangers didn’t care about my past because it didn’t affect them or their relationship with me. Quite unlike the people who had known me for years, who were very emotionally invested in me.

Re-Write All My History

It is possible to re-write history. We can learn from our mistakes and tell others about them. We can change our thought patterns about certain topics or experiences. We can re-write someone else’s future while healing our own past. And once we have moved into true happiness, we can look back and be grateful for the difficulty. Because without it, we wouldn’t have met those new people, moved to a new city or started that business.

I Just Gotta Get Past the Past

Easier said than done, isn’t it? But trust me, it is possible. And once you do, a wonderful, amazing world of confidence and freedom is handed to you! Yes, it is handed to you. Once you get Past the Past.

You must be willing to get over the fear of being happy, put your faith and trust in strangers, seek change and re-write your thought patterns and old stories you tell yourself.

As a Life Coach, I can guide you through all of these challenges. We will develop customized action plans and take baby steps to take you from hurting paralysis to soaring happiness! I am the one to give you love you didn’t earn and love you for where you are, even if you aren’t loving yourself right now.

If you want to get Past the Past and get help from someone who truly understands you and what you are going through, book your first session today! It’s only $35! Learn more at lesada.ca/coaching

Differing Journeys

Have you ever heard the saying “There’s more than one way to skin a cat?” It means that there’s more than one path to reach a destination.

When I was in my late teens, I wanted to go to school, get married, have a family. When I went off to college, I already had a boyfriend. He proposed to me in November of my first year. He was the only boyfriend I ever had. My parents hadn’t talked to me about dating or what it was like to live on my own or with a room mate. I just assumed that you were supposed to marry the person you were with. So I agreed to the proposal. I wanted a house and a family and thought that that was how it worked.

Looking back…

twenty years and a divorce later, I realize my thoughts were wrong. There is more than one way to skin a cat. I was working full time, I could have easily afforded the tiny apartment we had on my own. As for children, we all know a person can do that on their own too, although a family unit with a mom, dad and kid is what I wanted. But even so, I didn’t have a baby until six years after I got married. That was plenty of time for me to have built a little nest on my own before finding the right person for me. Sigh. If only I had known then what I know now…

I have a lot of young people come in to Lesada looking for direction. They are considering transitioning from male to female. Often they are confused about sexuality, emotions, dating and their place in society. Just because a man likes wearing silky nighties or painting his toenails doesn’t mean he has to suddenly become a woman.

Looking ahead…

My advice to those seeking answers is to explore. Experiment with different people. Find out what you like and what you don’t like. Build on what you learn and what you enjoy. In this day and age, you can do anything you want, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else. Maybe you are a man who likes to wear eyeliner, or, maybe you really are a girl, or maybe a bit of both!

Your twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and beyond are all ages to explore new interests. If you think you might like something, try it. Even if it’s not what others are doing. Explorations lead to discoveries and it’s so exciting when you discover yourself!

Looking up…

Exploration, breaking new ground and cutting new paths on your journey can be scary and hard. If you need help and a guide along the way, consider Life Coaching. I, Leanne, am a certified Transformational Life Coach and would be happy to work with you as you explore your life’s path. It’s easy to get started, just visit www.lesada.ca/coaching to book your first call.