Category Archives: inspiration

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I am so fortunate to have been chosen as part of Lisa MacIntosh’s photography series ASK which features women she finds inspiring. I had a glorious sparkly morning posing for photos, and the shot chosen was just a casual moment we shared laughing. Brilliant!

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In Lisa’s own words…

“Each and every day I see women – mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts without fame or fortune, commit acts of strength and love that impact people’s lives; unseen and with quiet courage.

Every mother is a working-woman, every daughter a caregiver to someone, every sister a friend, and every grandmother a mentor. With small gestures and sometimes Herculean efforts they change, for the better, the lives around them.  

Both the women in the limelight and the women whose names I do not know are the ‘keel’ in the ship of humanity.

My portraits salute those female warriors who went before, are working for the cause of equality and love of community now, and the ‘ordinary’ woman who quietly inspires, engages and is a trailblazer.

And to those they may call ‘ordinary’ as they have neither accolades, medals, or recognition, I say you are: extraordinary!

This is my journey through Asking.”

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You can see Lisa’s ASK gallery of inspiring women here!

http://www.lisamacintoshphotography.ca/ASK

 

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Hosting the Body Love Ball!

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I’m helping host the Body Love Ball this weekend!
Saturday December 2!  Come one, come all!

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Dance soothes the soul! On Saturday December 2, inside the 519, Body Confidence Canada’s Body Love Ball dance fundraiser promises to ignite our senses as we dance the night away  celebrating our bodies. Come one come all to our dance space.

“What shall I wear,” you ask? You define your fabulousity. Begin your evening in the ballroom on our electric dance floor or take a moment to indulge in body positive art installations, the candy room, live music performances, inspirational speakers, a silent auction and more.

#BodyLoveBall is a fundraiser in support of The 519 Newcomer Settlement Services, Rainbow Camp supporting LGBT youth, families and allies andBody Confidence Canada Awards (BCCAs) which acknowledge Canada-based body equity champions and trailblazers. Join us as we celebrate our diverse and inclusive splendour and kick off the holiday season with us at the party that won’t stop until you do (okay, well 1:00am☺).

IG: Body Confidence Canada | Twitter: @BCCAwards

#BodyLoveBall – 7:00pm – 1:00am

Dress Code: Fabulously You!

HOSTS
Daniel Pillai
Kat Leonard 
Talli Osborne

LIVE PAINTING
Frizz Kid

LIVE PERFORMANCES INCLUDING
Vanessa Lu
Tasheka Lavann

CURATED ART INSTALLATION
Feminist Art Conference (FAC)

MUSIC
DJ Maren Hancock
DJ Craig Dominic

Drinks*, Eats & Special Guests

PINK CARPET

AND MORE!!!

Accessible venue
Gender neutral washrooms
ASL

Presenting Sponsor | TD Canada Trust
Bronze Sponsor | Coco & Cowe
Community Partner | Canadian Women’s Foundation
Media Sponsor | She Does The City | Xtra | FabUplusMagazine

Publicity Sponsor | Touchwood PR

The 519 is committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ community. Newcomer Settlement Services assists newcomers in settlement and integration in Canada

Rainbow Camp® is a one-week camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning, 2 spirited (LGBTQ2+) and Allied youth, their siblings and children in Queer families

Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCA’s) acknowledge Canada- based recipients who are trailblazers advocating for and creating more inclusive spaces for diverse bodies

*Drinks included based on ticket level

STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES!
https://www.bodyconfidencecanada.com/body-love-ball

Facebook event here!

People Profile: Harrison Fine!

Meet Harrison Fine: Music Creator and Producer!

Harrison Fine is a singer-songwriter, performer, producer, tech guy, community builder and inspirer. Fine Productions is “producing the music you listen to.” It’s certainly producing the music I listen and dance to! Fine’s project Opus Eyes is some of the best music I’ve ever heard. I love the sounds, I love the feels. A high-recommend by me! NOW Readers Choice Winner 2014 for Best Producer, Fine has many production packages to choose from for all music-making desires. He also hosts Get Your Mic On, a casual and fun podcast that I had the pleasure of joining in on. Wanna hear us banter with Karl Machat? You can on The Kat Leonard Episode!  But enough about me! Let’s get to more from Harrison!

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What is your career? 

I am a Music Producer. I work with indie artists, songwriters and bands on a regular basis.

Is it the same as your passion?  

I would say so.

What is your passion? 

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been attracted to music. I used to belt out into opera in grade one. I wasn’t very popular, lol.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? 

Waiting. Trust. Faith. I’ve been doing something or other with music for ten years now. The digital era put a lot of talented individuals out of jobs — both artists and industry professionals. As rewarding as my job is, it’s the hardest one I’ve ever had.

What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?

Believe in yourself in the face of adversity. Never give up and aim higher than you think is possible of yourself.

What does it mean to be an artist?

We are all artists in a way. To create is to be an artist. You don’t need a brush or an instrument. By adding creativity to your day, you are an artist.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not?

No. I have grown a lot in the last five years personally. It’s through this transformation that I have started believing in myself and what I am capable of achieving.

Where will you be in 5 years? 

That’s for the universe to know and for me to find out. I would love to be healthily working full time in music, shaping the world and still dreaming big.

What would you say to your 8-year-old self? 

Always believe in you. No matter who people say you should be, always be you. Never give up and trust the power you have within yourself.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self?

I hope I listened to my heart and took the road truest to me. I hope my choices lead to wonderful memories and everlasting growth.

How lucky are you and why?

Life is what you make it. I am lucky in many ways but in other ways I have faced many obstacles. To deviate slightly, I want to add that comparing obstacles with each other is futile. I have worked hard to get where I am and I’m a firm believer that hard work pays off.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was 18.

What makes you laugh? 

I love satire, stand up comedy and jokes which make you think. To deviate again, I feel people need to lighten up more and realize comedy isn’t going to hurt anybody. We are so damn serious these days.

What is fun for you?

Spending time with my friends. I like to eat out even though it’s more expensive. My latest thing is for Ethiopian. Veggie platters FTW.

What makes you question humanity?

The fact that we are all seeking happiness yet we trample on others just to get more for ourselves. As a result, none of us are happy and misery encircles our generation.

What is your favourite quote?

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind – Mahatma Ghandi

Is there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to? 

If you want to find out more about what I do, visit FINEProductions.ca. Also, as a songwriter I’m always releasing new music. My latest project is called Opus Eyes. It’s cinematic alternative pop with an electronic fusion. Check it out at opuseyes.com.

Please provide a link to something you find particularly inspiring.
Instructions For Life by The Dalai Lama
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I will let you know that I am fortunate enough to have heard the full master of Opus Eyes’s Lightswitch and it is a FINE production!!! Get it? Seriously though– it is a full-on dance party for one when I play it. The music of Opus Eyes moves me in ways that last longer than the time the music plays. I can’t wait for its full release and the upcoming music video(s) and more. The world better brace itself. 🙂  And now, a picture of Harrison and I with our biggest fan! Get it? 🙂

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Wishing you all a happy and creative day filled with what you wanna fill it with!

Love Kat 🙂 xo

People Profile: Signe Miranda

Meet Signe Miranda: singer, songwriter, coach, author!

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Signe Miranda is many things, and just one of them is being a pretty swell lady to know; sweet and kind and also a creative supportive force on the music scene! She is lead singer of Signe Miranda’s Veranda, an alternative roots-rock band, and she also teaches The Song Creation Formula process and literally wrote the book on it! Here I am reading it! Those are smudges of milk chocolate on my brow. That’s how I Rolo.

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I posed the People Profile questions to Signe and this is what she said:

What is your career? Is it the same as your passion? What is your passion?

My career is songwriter, musician/performer, live sound tech, author and songwriting coach. My passion is having fun sharing the joy of music with people and inspiring people to embrace their creativity, passion and purpose. Often when people ask that question, they mean “what do you do for a living.” I see a career as something that I’m continually working at to expand my experience of mastering it. I do other things for fun and to support my career – working in an office, concert production work and other fun stuff that comes up.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career?

One of my greatest challenges with my career is creating the time and space to focus on being in a creative place, when there are a lot of administrative entrepreneurial activities that go along with being my own record label, my own booking agent, manager, web designer and marketing manager, while having a part time day job and multiple facets to my career.

The rewards are boundless – being in creative flow is one of the most amazing feelings – writing songs & sharing them with an audience, rehearsing, recording and playing shows with my band (Signe Miranda’s Veranda), creating and leading programs that assist people in writing their first song when they never thought they could write a song.

What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?

Follow your intuition. It will always guide you to the place where you belong. You’ll always be where you’re meant to be in a greater sense – although the journey flows if you’re in line with your intuition, while if you continually resist what is, the journey becomes a chore; and it’s all about the journey. Most artists create and share their art because they find joy in it and sometimes we think we need to do certain things because that’s what’s necessary to accomplish certain things. The path is different for each of us, so be your own guide and don’t get too frustrated allowing the “paperwork” to take over the creative work. Remember why you love it and keep that love alive.

What does it mean to be an artist?

To be an artist is to be free to create and experience the flow of life, transforming it into something through which the feeling or emotion can be shared with others to create an experience that transcends the one who created it.

5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not?

Five years ago I certainly didn’t expect to be where I am today. The thought never entered my mind at that time, that I would write a book and become a best-selling author and interview some of my favourite songwriters, do seven solo tours, driving across the country alone and having the most amazing time, traveling all over the place volunteering at personal development events, taking courses, working with a coach to expand my career and my awareness, creating and leading songwriting workshops, while still in the same day-job which allows me the freedom to travel, and playing in a band with such amazing musicians.

Where will you be in 5 years?

That’s a fantastic surprise and gift. I could guess; I could plan and everything gets turned upside down and shaken up. I will be wherever I lead myself to, one moment at a time. That’s not the answer I would have given six months ago. It would be really fun to be touring with my band, playing shows (band and solo) across Canada and the US, in Europe (especially Norway), Australia, New Zealand, anywhere the music leads me. I would love to travel to so many places – hiking mountains, visiting archaeological sites (particularly Egyptian, Roman and Mayan), playing sports and enjoying this amazing thing we call life.

I love recording albums, touring, creating and leading workshops and always learning – so I see that continuing to be a huge part of my life.

What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

Remember to play. It doesn’t matter what your age is, adults get to play too. Always remember that.

What would you say to your 80-year-old self?

Remember to play. Life is to be enjoyed. “Life is for laughing, loving and living.” (Ed Foreman)

How lucky are you and why?

I am so lucky, if you define lucky as amazement of how spectacular life can be, where things unfold in a surprisingly interwoven way, like we’re living a story that we wrote and forgot what the plot was going to be. Sometimes I forget how movies end and can enjoy them with fresh perspective. Life is kind of like that. Nothing is random.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

If I give away all my secrets, then nobody will be surprised anymore. 😉 I teach tennis and one summer it was one of my tour-funding vehicles. I’m a certified NLP practitioner.

What makes you laugh? What is fun for you?

Really funny movies make me laugh – they have to be really really funny, ridiculous conversations – usually brought on by lack of sleep, and sincere joyful abandon (being in the moment and allowing the joy of the moment to overwhelm the senses – usually involving outdoor activities and/or silliness.

What I find to be the most fun is playing music, road trips, personal development courses, watching movies, hiking mountains and taking pictures of scenery, experiencing new places – particularly involving mountains and water – driving through the Rockies, overcoming fears – i.e. bungee jumping, starting conversations with people who I’m nervous to talk to, going to amazing concerts, doing live sound for concerts, dancing to joyful music, playing sports (especially badminton, tennis, table tennis, basketball and whirly ball – look it up – it’s the awesome-est sport that no-one’s heard of).

What makes you question humanity?

Philosophy encourages me to ponder purpose. It puzzles me that sometimes people get so caught up in being right that they lose perspective on their purpose.

What is your favourite quote?

I don’t have one favourite quote. It’s always changing. The one I mentioned earlier seems appropriate at the moment, “Life is for laughing, loving and living.” (Ed Foreman)

Is there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to?

I’ve recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for the new album I’m recording with my band, Signe Miranda’s Veranda. It’s called “Heart Wave” and I’m really excited to be recording with these awesome musicians that I started working with over the last year and a half (Shamakah Ali & Rob Brown), as well as Brian Allossery, who has an awesome sense of how to arrange my songs in a way that really inspires me. I’m excited to have guest musicians on the album too – Peter Nunn and Bob Egan. We just started recording the first four songs at Rouge Valley Studio with Jeremy Trites and we’re releasing one single at a time every couple of months, starting next month. My purpose is to share the joy of music with as many people as I can and people can get involved by donating and/or sharing our crowdfunding page – http://smarturl.it/fundheartwave

I’m about to head out on my fifth west coast tour in September, playing shows and leading songwriting workshops (The Song Creation Workshop/Experience) from Vancouver to Edmonton – to share my book “The Song Creation Formula” and to launch the first single from “Heart Wave.” – http://www.signemiranda.com/

I attended the Coalition Music/Canada’s Music Incubator Artist Entrepreneur Program last year and it was an absolutely amazing experience – helping me grow as an artist, focus and expand – http://www.canadasmusicincubator.com/

Brian Allossery (singer, songwriter, musician, producer) has this awesome social networking site for artists to connect with eachother and share their art – musicians, poets, painters, writers… from all around the world – http://lazypoets.com/

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See? Look how helpful and inspiring she is!
For more on Signe and all her projects, check out her links!
New courses for the fall are available with the Song Creation Workshop! Check it!
Have a glorious day!
🙂
Love Kat

New Project Announced: Myselfie!

Myselfie: A snapshot to share.

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I recently did a meditative exercise whereby one mindfully describes their own body parts in a grateful manner. As I was exploring, it came to me that this is my next show. It is is still a work in progress but I aim to create a piece of work that will inspire positive self-love and self-esteem. My goal is to create a meaningful spectacle of word, body part selfie images, song and dance that I can tour with in order to engage and empower, especially within the preteen and teenage group. I may have to mind the cheekiness– though I’m of the belief that a fresh amount of cheek is honest and healthy. I welcome you to join me in this journey and provide feedback as I work this show.

Upcoming dates I will be previewing and workshopping Myselfie bits:

April 30 at Habits Gastropub as part of the WonderFest Comedy and Storytelling series.

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May 3– that’s my birthday! at 3030 Dundas West as part of the Super Tash CD Release bash!

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May 30 at Hirut in Toronto…
More deets, dates and dots to come!

And I encourage you to partake in this exercise of going through your body parts in a mindful way. Don’t forget your innards! Here is an example of how I tackled the exercise, in the form of an excerpt from Myselfie.

I feel superbly blessed and I am taking this time to give thanks for what I’ve been given. Behold… Myselfie.

Dear, all everything beating and breathing in the universe, thanks for giving me head. And face. And other great bits. Thank you for my soft silky hair, for being so enticing to others that I benefit from frequent petting. …

Smile, thank you for being there for me and others. You have lightened and heightened a good many mood. They say you light up a room when you arrive, and I know this to be true because whenever I walk into a room with you, everyone within is illuminated–and all the jubilant light reflects back at me. Thank you for the readiness and ease with which you come out to play. You are a weapon for good and I brandish you gladly. Get it? Gladly? …

Feet. I like your shape. I love your toes. I love how they cascade down in size but for the second one that reaches out beyond the crowd. I love that you signify traits that so many of us strive to be in tune with and hope to be courageous enough to act upon… to stand out from the masses even if it means wrecking the visual of the status quo, to reach and grow beyond our own backyard, to be anchored to others yet free on our own. All these things are so important and hold me up, just like you, my sweet feet. You allow me to hold my poise as I run wild and dance with no restraint, as I walk in stride with friends side by side, as I follow those I admire and blaze a path for others… Dear feet, thank you for bringing us to this spot right here right now and thank you for taking us to our next adventure– which is always only a few steps away. 

Thank you, my dear body, for the collective chaos and cacophony and clownery you are. I explode with passion both joyful and painful from the inside out and know that I am alive and moving forward. You and me are in this together. There is no you without me or me without you. Together we are myselfie. 

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Do it! Do the exercise! It’s fun! And while you’re at it, drop a selfie!

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NEW SHOW ANNOUNCED: WonderFest 2015!

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Let’s Make Good Productions presents WONDERFEST!

To celebrate International Women’s Day we’re rounding up Wonder Women and Super Men to celebrate by spreading empowerment through art!

This WONDERFEST will showcase many artists such as singer-songwriters, spoken word/poets, story tellers, comedians, visual artists and motivational speakers!

3030 Dundas West
Doors open at 7pm
Show starts at 8pm
$10 at the door


We hope you can come out and be inspired to create by seeing all the incredible artists showcased at WonderFest!

Details on artists to come! WonderWomenWorld.tumblr.com

Find our Facebook event here! 

🙂

I don’t give a fuck!

I got a whole lotta respect for the fuckery coming out of Mark Manson in his article about not giving a fuck! Some fucking tidbits:

“…stop fucking around. Get your fucks together… Allow me to fucking show you…

If you find yourself consistently giving too many fucks about trivial shit that bothers you… chances are you don’t have much going on in your life to give a legitimate fuck about. And that’s your real problem. Not the hand sanitizer…

In life, our fucks must be spent on something. There really is no such thing as not giving a fuck. The question is simply how we each choose to allot our fucks…

Fucks are cultivated like a beautiful fucking garden, where if you fuck shit up and the fucks get fucked, then you’ve fucking fucked your fucks all the fuck up.”

If you give a fuck, and if you don’t, please read Mark’s article here:
Mark Manson on not giving a fuck!

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Help Me To Heal

This week I was privileged to be invited by Amy Sky to sing along in a beautiful backup choir for Help Me To Heal on her upcoming album. The song is a lilting and soothing delight and I can’t wait to share the finished sound and video with you all! So much laughter and light filled the room, a splendour of sound and spirit. I am so pleased and proud to have been involved. 🙂

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-thank you to all friends who contributed pics! xo

Please treat yourself to some of Amy’s sounds! She is one of my favourite voices; a voice backed by a heart just as stunning and soulful. 10 years ago I created a wee video biography of one of my favourite people ever, my Grampie. It is one of my most cherished projects and jampacked with love. He is one of the prominent forces that made me who I am today and continually affects my work and day-to-day living. I ended that video with Amy’s song If You Could See Yourself. Who knew then that I’d one day be singing along with her in the same room? 🙂 [Dear Amy: If you are reading this, I swear the copy I promised you is on its way! 😉 xo]

Me and Grampie:

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20140717-163448-59688881.jpg -Grampie knew that the way to a young girl’s heart is through her stomach! 😉

As always, I wish you a life full of love, inspiration, music, laughter and dance!
🙂 xoxox

Freeing People From Concern: Jim Carrey

At the ass-crack of dawn this morn I listened to Jim Carrey’s speech to the 2014 graduating class of Maharishi University of Management and gleaned from it the wise tidbits mulled below. You may have seen the speech or portions thereof by now. I think it’s worth another viewing!

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I strive in my life to optimize the affect I have on others. I wish for everyone around me to laugh, to dance, to dream, to feel loved and to feel confident, to take risks and to empower themselves and others into optimistic drive. Like Jim Carrey, I desire to “free people from concern” in the moment I’m with them. I wish for people to be critically aware that we indeed only have this moment we’re in, and that our entire lives are made up of these moments. This moment is all we have, and in each moment we make a choice to either be asleep at the wheel of our own lives or to dream and steer our lives on the course of our purpose. What is your purpose? Stop and listen and it will become clear what talent you have to share that affects others in a profound and positive way. It is what feels so good you can almost taste it like the sweet morsel at the end of a satisfying meal with your favourite companions. We were not put on this earth to play small, or to choose fear disguised as practicality. We were born to shine our lights and to encourage those around us to do so. Only then will we be free of the darkness.

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I am fortunate to surround myself with likeminded souls who are talented, kind, creative, generous and courageous, and I was so pleased to be involved with four and more of them to help raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Canada last week with She’s Listening II. I am very grateful to my dear friends and forces Angela Saini, Jessica Speziale, Heather Hill, and Melanie Peterson for shining their lights with me and to Delrose for capturing the splendour of sight and sound! Check out Delrose’s recap of She’s Listening II here!

And speaking of Delrose and empowering, you can check her out tonight along with Iman Wain and Noah Solomon at the WonderFest Music Series! Thank you to Arlene Paculan for keeping lit our  ever-growing WonderFest community empowering through art!

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What a beautiful world! Get out there and shine your light, everybuddy!

Love Kat xo

 

 

 

 

Come By Here on a new music compilation!

Come By Here, the song I wrote with Heather Hill with help from Orville Heyn, made it onto the Positive Music Imperative compilation for January 2014!

What is the Positive Music Imperative?

“The Positive Music Imperative is a collaborative collective, social enterprise, creating a legacy through the creation of positive music, and by educating people around the world about the role and importance of Positive Music in being an agent for personal, community and global change. Our mandate is to both create and positive music as well as to educate the importance of Positive Music and its ability to change people, communities and the world like no other force we know. That’s the Positive Music Imperative.”

 
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Come By Here was inspired by three heroes in my life who battled cancer. Come By Here is a song pleading with the powers that be to come hither and comfort.  To see and hear the January 2014 compilation, visit the Positive Music Imperative website.  For more on the story of Come By Here, visit my previous blog introducing Come By Here.

Have yourself a positively inspired day and more!

🙂 love Kat xo