Follow Through


Today, as I struggle to get my head back into work and the new year, I have been doing some thinking on what it is I want to focus on this coming year. I find that having a 'theme' helps me focus on my personal goals and aids in decision making when I start to feel overwhelmed. Last year, my focus was learning and creative development. Which yielded this blog and a year's worth of stories to tell about getting creative learning. I keep thinking that one of these years my theme is going to be 'rest' but it just doesn't seem to be presenting itself to me just yet.

There are a lot of big things going on in 2011 already and while I am thrilled, excited and challenged by the opportunities they hold, I get a little worried about being able to stay present and really being aware and keeping them meaningful. I am not here to check things off a list. I am here to live things. So, while I ponder this, and wade through my emails I will choose to focus today on small accomplishments.

I got my poster framed!! It is a small miracle that I actually have artwork up on the wall at all, which is odd for an artist, I realize... but that it is actually framed semi-professionally is just over the top. I like to think of it as a tiny act of follow through.

Take that indecision! Suck it procrastination! Commitment!? Don't make me come over there!

Ahhh. There. I feel terrific! I think the poster looks pretty darn cute too!

If you still want one we have a few left! Email Emily ( to get one! They were limited edition so are only available while supplies last.

Do you have any tiny acts of follow through under your belt? Share them! It feels awesome!!


By Leigh 12.29.2010 – 4:05 pm


Photos © 2010Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Holiday House Tour


I had so much fun decorating for Christmas. I didn't even get to it all! Here are some more photos...

All photos can be viewed here.


By Leigh 12.27.2010 – 6:58 pm


Photos © 2010Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Holiday Houseful




1. as many as a house will accommodate: a houseful of weekend guests.
Happy Holidays all! I hope that your Christmas weekends were full of magic and sparkle and feasts of plenty. Or some quiet and cozy time in with Chinese food....or both!! Mine has been excellent so far (family is still here) and was all of the above. I am working on cozy as we speak, having just shoveled out of the 18" of snow we have so far!
I may have mentioned before that for the first time ever my family was coming to me for Christmas. I may have mentioned it more than once because I may have been out-of-my-mind excited about it!! This is also the first Christmas for Coach and I in our new home, so as you might have imagined, I have spent the past several weeks, ok, maybe a month or so, getting our house ready for it's holiday debut. Pictures got hung, light fixtures were finally installed, closets were cleaned out and air mattresses were located. Things that had been on our list since we moved in like weather-stripping and bed sheet matching-upping were finally executed and the corners were swept out...which felt really good. And of course, there was hall-decking and tree-trimming.
Since my family was traveling far to be with us, and since Santa was coming to a new place for my cousin's little girls, I tried to make it very comfortable and a little extra special for my guests. And while it is all a work in progress, I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. I made cones out of paper for each guest, filled them with a little trinket, some candy and directions from our house to places like the mall, Target and CVS, then hung them on the doors to their rooms or on hooks in the guest bathroom. I put together a little basket of washcloths and some toiletries in case anyone forgot anything, and saved fancy soaps and shampoos from my hotel travels and lined them up in the showers so they would feel pampered. I turned down beds and fluffed pillows and tried to make it as cozy a stay as possible for 9 adults and 2 children (I guess cozy may have been the right word for it!).
Having my home full of people I love, eating, drinking, cooking and hanging out together is my very favorite thing in the world. Even though Santa brought me some lovely things, I think that may have been my greatest gift.
Above are some photos of the details from before they got Mom, who is one of the few people in my life that will notice all of the details, and totally appreciate them, encouraged me to take some pics before everyone arrived, knowing that it would never again look quite as lovely. So I have some more decor photos to share over the coming days.

By Leigh 12.27.2010 – 12:54 pm


Merry Memories Giveaway Day 5 - Believe Believe Believe!

The Biz and journal

Good morning memory mavens! Sorry about skipping a give away post yesterday... my Mom and Dad flew in from St. Louis, and we spent the day getting my house ready for the hoards. Ok, and chatting...and eating...and grocery shopping (with the rest of civilization).

So today to make it up to you, Lucy will pick two winners! Fa la la la laaaaaa...

If you are just catching this blog, or this series, I am giving away lovely prizes in exchange for your holiday memories. It has been tons of fun, and all together spirit spit shining!

Today I want to talk about Santa.

****Spoiler Alert**** This post may contain the suggestion that someone is not real. These are not necessarily the views of the writer of this blog or the affiliated company or it's employees. We all still leave cookies out. Just to be on the safe side.

I personally believed in Mr. Claus longer than I probably should have. I say this because in order to fall in with a well-liked and un-ridiculed social group in grade school one must be cool. You can be smart, but not too smart. You can be funny, but not too funny. You can even have buckteeth and a boy's haircut, but you have to have had a cool older brother. I fell squarely in none of these categories (except for the buckteeth and boy's haircut one) and spent most of my grade school and middle school years teetering on the edge of acceptance. It was kind of terrible and I would like to publicly thank my childhood best friend, Annie Fehlig for teaching me how to be smarter, funnier and why I didn't really want a cool older brother after all. But that is a story for later.

So there I was in 5th grade, teetering, and that was the year I finally got real, solid proof that Santa existed. I also decided that sharing my proof with the kids in my class, instead of quietly keeping my little discovery to myself, was a really good idea.


That year we got snow on Christmas eve, which was unusual for St.Louis, so when my little brother (who, by the way, never teetered) and I woke up Christmas morning, instead of bee-lining it to the tree we rushed to the back window of our house to see the blanket of un-spoiled snow sparkling in our backyard.

That's when we saw them. 

Sleigh tracks. Huge, way-bigger-than-anything-that-could-possibly-have-been-made-with-ANY-of-our-sleds sleigh tracks!!! And huge boot tracks walking right up to our back door!! (We did not have a fire place so Santa had to come to the back door...we liked to think he enjoyed the break.) That was not all!! There were also reindeer tracks...right out in front of the sleigh. We couldn't believe our eyes.

No, seriously. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was eleven. I was a little past even a doubt in my mind that my parents were fronting this operation plus, there were major social implications to even the suggestion that you still believed (even if it was just cause you had a kid brother.) And yet there, on Christmas morning in the perfect, new, sparkly snow... was proof.

I won't tell you how it happened, or how long I ate lunch by myself after that. But I will tell you that I stuck to my guns. I know what I saw, and I wasn't going to let a little thing like the rest of my pre-teen years stop me from spreading the word! The bottom line is that I wanted him to be real, and I wanted the other kids to too. I kind of still do.


So, tell me what made you believe. Share your story and win fun stuff! Today we will pick two winners and they will get this:

The deal is the same:

Your comments are your entries. One comment per person please. Winners will be picked by Lucy. (At random) Comments will be accepted until 10am EST Friday 12/24

Can't Wait to hear your stories!

By Leigh 12.23.2010 – 9:26 am


Me and my older cousin, while it was still just the two of us, making cookies and reading Christmas stories while they baked.

Merry Memories Giveaway Day 4 - Kitchen Traditions!

The Biz and journal

Happy Monday All, and welcome back to my holiday give away series! I am having such fun hearing your memories and seeing what this stirs up! I truly thank you for making this so much fun!

Today, I want to take this a step further. I want recipes.

No, seriously.

In my family we have a tradition of making Christmas cookies around this time every year. My mom even has a "cookie exchange" that she does each year (which makes her hard core) where a group of ladies each bake a dozen cookies for each other lady and they she comes home with a whole basket of different kinds of cookies to munch on throughout the holidays. Fabulous! Unless you are my skinny jeans.

The photos above are of my older cousin and I, back before my brother and her sister were born. We were "making" Christmas cookies and reading stories and rockin' our 70's outfits. This year, for the first year ever, Christmas will be held at my house in Boston and my cousin will be there with her two little girls (yes, Santa is coming to our walk-up!) and we will be making Christmas morning 'monkey bread' for our whole family together. I can't think of anything that would make me happier...or bring this more full circle. Maybe I will make her read me stories in a big chair.

So I want to hear about your holiday traditions in the kitchen, whether they be cookies or crab cakes, stories, swaps or spirits. But I want you to think about this as one big 'cookie exchange" so please post the recipe that goes with your memory...preferably in a link.

The prize today is a pair of our sold out holiday ornaments:

The deal is the same:

Your comments are your entries. One comment per person please. Winner will be picked by Lucy. (At random) Comments will be accepted until 2pm EST Tuesday 12/21

Can't Wait to see what you come up with!!!

By Leigh 12.20.2010 – 3:50 pm


Merry Memories Giveaway Day 3 - The Best Gift Ever!

The Biz and journal

Happy Friday all!! Thank you for your wonderful and occasionally hilarious 'performance' stories! Some of them had me in stitches!

Marianne, I was wiping tears from my eyes imagining a row of 'kid packages' trying to get up stairs!! And Wendy with her super-glittery hair!!

This is totally addictive! I want to collect stories forever!!

So, if you are just joining us, a quick catch up: I am doing a daily holiday give away. In exchange for your Christmas memories, you get entered to win a fabulous Curly Girl prize!! If you have not read everyone's stories, I highly encourage is entirely heart-warming, de-grinching, and holiday-spirit lifting!

Today's topic is presents. There are two types of people in this world: those that peek, and those that don't. You either do or you don't. It's just that simple. In fact, think it would be an interesting study. A study on the effects of being a 'peeker'. I say that because I fall firmly in the "non-peeker" category. No way. No how. I love surprises. I love parties and cake and boxes with bows and silver white winters that melt into spring... and surprises! I never peeked. Not once. In fact, if I accidentally saw something I thought I was not supposed to see I made myself forget it. I was hard-core. Still am.

I married a peeker.


So, today I want to hear your stories of peeking or not, and your favorite gifts that you remember receiving. The ones that Santa brought that you thought about so much you couldn't sleep! The ones that made you squeal with delight and fight with your siblings over. The ones you had your picture taken with. Those gifts.

The above photos are of my mom and her sisters posing with the respective year's best gifts. In one of them, my mom holds 'brown bear" which she got when she was 4, and I slept with in my bed when I was a little girl. He still plays Brahms's Lullaby.

Today's winner will recieve this:

A set of 6 packs of Curly Girl Holiday Napkins!! Perfect for all of your holiday entertaining!

Share away ladies! Have fun dusting off those memories.

The deal is the same:

Your comments are your entries. One comment per person please. Winner will be picked by Lucy. (At random) Comments will be accepted until 4pm EST Sunday 12/19.

By Leigh 12.17.2010 – 8:21 pm


"three wise guys" circa 1984

Merry Memories Giveaway Day 2 - Putting on a Show!

The Biz and journal

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed reading all of your stories!! Thank you for sharing and thanks for making the days up to my holiday celebration filled with great memories! I feel like we are making a big memory snowball!

Today's giveaway is going to be a little dramatic. Every year around Hanukkah or the Christmas holiday, the scores of performances begin. Choir, band, orchestra, school plays, dance, church plays, and pageants ...the list goes on. At one point or another I know you all have been part of one or two of these, (I know I have) and I want the details.

I remember sun-tanned color pantyhose, dickies under choir robes, Jeffery Hillard throwing up in the back row of our Christmas choir know the really sentimental stuff. I also remember practicing "Canon" for our big winter choral concert in high school and getting goose bumps as the whole corps sang. To this day, I think my brother only comes to chapel with me on Christmas Eve so he can sing (and play with hot candle wax). It is such a huge part of celebration.

The photo above is not of any of my more "formal" performances, which, as you might imagine, there were many. But of one of the skits my brother and cousin and I put together for our family. The one pictured here was "The Three Wise Guys".

I am unclear if it was scripted or more of an improv piece, but this picture made me howl with laughter and remember with such fondness our many many theatrical works. This is one of the few in which my brother did not have to play a girl or a dog. Poor guy.

Today I am giving away this:

A beautiful holiday collector's plate to remind us that it really is about the little things. Sun-Tanned pantyhose not withstanding.

The deal is the same:

Your comments are your entries. One comment per person please. Winner will be picked by Lucy. (At random) Comments will be accepted until 4pm EST Friday 12/17.

So share away!


By Leigh 12.16.2010 – 6:11 pm


Merry Memories Giveaway Day 1 - Handmade Gifts

The Biz and journal

Oh! This is my favorite favorite thing to do! Well, two of my favorite things: sharing stories and giving presents! Last year (2009 BB - before blog) I did this on twitter and facebook and it was so fun and I loved hearing people's stories so much I decided to do it again. Only this year, with pictures.

My mom helped me dig out some of the gems that you will see over the next few days (thanks mom!) and I had a good laugh looking through them and remembering the Christmas time stories that went along with them.

Today I want to hear about the best or, by all means, worst handmade gifts you have either given or received. I know I have certainly given some doozies, but the pictures above represent something about my childhood that I truly cherish. Every year that I can remember (up until I was in high school, I think) Dorothy made us all (me, my mom, my cousins, brother and aunt) flannel nightgowns. Floor-length, long-sleeved, cozy nightgowns that often came with matching sleeping bonnets (oh yes!). My brother got PJs but still got the hat. Despite the fact that if you look through our Christmas albums through the years we look like members of a polygamist cult, we loved these. It should be noted that they were matching. I looked forward to my new nightgown every year and would even get to the point that Dorothy would let me pick out the fabric. I actually assumed for a while that everyone got new handmade flannel nightgowns each year at Christmas. You can imagine my chagrin in junior high.

There are years and years and years of photos of us in various flannels over the years but I have chosen just a couple. Above on the left is one of my mom and I (I was about 5 ) modeling our matching frocks, which we always did immediately upon opening. The other is of me and my cousin in a rare year of complimentary flannels, it seems I am trying to give her a hug.

It bears mentioning that this picture pretty much sums up our relationship as it is today.

SO, that is my memory of gifts handmade with love, what's yours!?? If you share it you will be entered to win this lovely Curly Girl "Glorious Gift" Sculpture:

Your comments are your entries. One comment per person please. Winner will be picked by Lucy. (At random) Comments will be accepted until 3pm EST Thursday 12/16.

So share away!



By Leigh 12.15.2010 – 3:41 pm


Habits of Happiness

Habits of Happiness

For a while now, my friend Lacy and I have been chatting on the topic of "happiness". What is it? Where does it come from? How do we get more of it? What makes us really happy? What makes one person a "happy person" and another not? The questions are endless, but the research, it turns out, is fun! We have in no way become experts, but have learned one thing: Happiness is, among other things, a practice. So like anything else we want to do better, we must make it a habit.
Lacy has been 'practicing' for a long time now, and I feel she has a lot to share on the topic. So when I decided to start this blog, I asked her if she would do regular guest-posts to talk about it. I plan to make a habit of reading them. xoxo, Leigh


Hi All! I know it’s the exact wrong time of year to be bad seeing as Santa is making his list and checking it twice but I’ve been playing with the idea anyway.  I love the freedom in it.  That rush you feel when you know you should be doing something responsible like chores or sitting in a conference call but instead you curl up on the couch, glass of wine (or hot cocoa or hot tea…) in hand and dark chocolate on the most beautiful teensy tiny little plate just winking at you from afar and you watch or read something that will perfectly suit your mood.     

The idea of creating space for yourself that would have otherwise been consumed by dutiful work is paramount for happiness in my mind.  There’s plenty of time for rushing around, stressing out and giving to everyone else.  What’s a stolen hour here and there to invest in nurturing the most important thing going… Y O U!

It challenges the idea of rules. Being bad is actually not bad at all… it’s brand new perspective to re write the rules so you can take care of yourself.  I’ve found that I was the one self-imposing rules all along and I get just as much done in a day when I take time out for myself. Time for self, breeds productivity and that is doubly happy in my mind.

Go ahead, be bad!
Santa is sure to celebrate when he sees that you've left out some cupcakes and champagne, as Curly Girl would!


Lacy Young is a professional happy person. You can find out more about her on her blog.

By Admin 12.14.2010 – 2:12 pm


Sweetheart of a Deal!

Sweetheart Sponsors

Our dear friend Lizzy over at Pieces of a Girl has a special offer for the next few days! Check it out!

Think you have something the Curly Girl World needs to know all about!? Would you like to become a Sponsor? We are growing fast and have some spots left at introductory rates. Contact: to learn more. Special pricing deadline extended!! Sign up by 2/1/11 for a sweetheart of a deal!

By Leigh 12.13.2010 – 8:30 pm


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