Marmalade is on the Move!

The Biz and Shop Girl Says

I know it's Saturday, but I have a big announcement that I didn't get to tell you this week! It's official!! Marmalade is moving to Main Street (this is where you hear the theme song to 'The Jeffersons"...)! Our little shop has been just upstairs from our warehouse and offices for it's three years and we are busting at the seams ready to take on the world!

We are not moving far, 1.3 miles to be exact, but we are moving to Belmont Center, which is the main street of our little town. This is a pretty big deal for me personally, as it means we are growing (my word!), we are going to be able to build even more of a community around Curly Girl and it's retail manifestation: Marmalade, I will be a visible presence in my own community (I live there!) and most importantly, we will have TWO TIMES THE SPACE!! Can't wait to make this little/big shop sparkle and meet our new neighbors (which include a Starbucks and the best ice cream shop in town...just sayin'). We also will have workshop space in the lower level...perfect for bringing in our clever friends in to do small classes! Yeep!

Little Marmalade will close at the end of Feb. with the big moving sale already in progress and we are pushing for an opening of April Fool's Day for Big Marmalade (we are still gonna call it just Marmalade, but until then...). I will be posting photos of the whole process....it is guaranteed to be an adventure. So glad you are along for the ride!

xoxo

By Leigh 01.29.2011 – 9:00 am

14 Comments

Sponsor Spotlight: Lucy Ingels

Sweetheart Sponsors

Lucy Ingels is a mixed media artist and aspiring author whose work celebrates inspirational words. Her journey into the art world began as a child with a love for gluing things…sequins, beads, yarn, glitter or gravel onto other things; wood, cardboard, boxes, cloth and felt.  Lucy’s second love was reading…books, billboards, magazines and cereal boxes…anything with words.

She has spent many years collecting inspirational words like a literary magpie and developing her own style of art infused with whimsy. Lucy has used her talents to create two inspirational gift books, Tell Me, Please! and Whimsical Wisdoms, that contain a treasure trove of sayings, proverbs and/or quotations.  Both are awaiting their soulmate publisher.

Her charming Etsy shop is filled with handmade originals that tell a story.  All art incorporates a saying or proverb that conveys a jewel of wisdom. Whimsical embellishments and doo-dads are added to make each one of a kind piece made with love and joy.

Please check out her website and her shop and tell her Curly Girl sent you!

 

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: emily@curlygirldesign.com to learn more.

By Leigh 01.28.2011 – 1:00 am

0 Comments

Show Your Stripes - Style Board

Style File

I hate to complain, in fact, I all but promised to not complain about winter until March. However, we have just received our 4th foot of snow for the season in Boston. It should be noted that the first 3 are still there.

So, instead of laying facedown on the floor kicking, screaming and throwing a wee fit, I decided to seek inspiration. Here goes.

I love stripes! Like, LOOOOOOOOOVE them. Stripes can turn almost any surface into something cheerful, playful and often, chic.

They are a little wink to the fact that a little part of us wishes we lived in Paris, or was off to the seaside for a picnic of fruit and sandwiches. In my opinion, stripes know no season, though they are often heralds of spring, so today I have compiled a super selection of springy stripes. I must admit that I do not love all stripes or all applications for stripes, I love single color with white or tone on tone. Not too fat or too skinny and, though conventional wisdom often dictates otherwise, always horizontal. It must make the item or wearer feel fresh or plucky, never busy or too young. It is a delicate balance, but when done well... c'est magnifique!

Hope these lift your spirits today! What are your favorite pick-me-ups?

1.) Striped Umbrella by John Paul Gaultier ~ Opening Ceremony

2.) ELLE Striped Embroidered Tee ~ Kohls

3.) Stripey Scarf ~ Boden

4.) Palm Stripe Underwire Tank ~ J.Crew

5.) Tine K Home Grey Stripe Mug ~ Sue Parkinson

6.) Tine K Home Grey Stripe Bowl ~ Sue Parkinson

7.) Kimball Flat ~ Report at Endless

8.) Thread Social Sweater ~ Net-a-Porter

9.) Runched Front Bikini ~ Victorias Secret

10.) Striped Snap Gloves ~ Last Call

11.) Striped Canvas Dear Tote ~ Rebecca Minkoff

12.) Cabana Stripe Paper Weight ~ by Pencil Shavings Paper at Etsy

Have fun striping around!!!

By Leigh 01.27.2011 – 10:07 am

8 Comments

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

 

Lighten up to Brighten up!

It's as involuntary as breathing in and out... you read one of her cards and say to yourself Y-E-S!  Sometimes it's a small little soft yes that says that her words touched your heart in such a tender way and sometimes is a gigantic billboard sized YES to symbolize that OMG DUH- how does she always said it just right?!  I call it her YES factor, Leigh has it in bucket loads and every time I read one of her cards it's there again.  When I read "Just wait until you see what is possible when you shine your little light on the world" it got me thinking... In order to truly shine we have to recharge.

Each year I choose a word and with it comes a list of goals.  This year my word is lighten and one of my goals is a Sunday Unplug to Recharge.  It's a time where I pry my phone and computer from my hands and turn everything OFF. I completed my first successful Silent Sunday last week and I gotta say it was HARD for me to do but totally worth it.  I saw my phone sitting on the table all day and resisted the urge to pick it up like a 100 times.  I went into my studio, cleaned, puttered and had an entire day technology free and this brilliant thing happened.  I found myself completely transformed.  The day-to-day stress of endless to do list's was replaced with conversations with myself and singing show tunes.

The next day I woke up ridiculously happy so much so that my husband said ---yeah so Silent Sunday is my favorite thing ever.

At the root of happiness is an undeniable light.  How you cultivate your light to completely up to you.  It doesn't have to be Silent Sunday in your house but I strongly suggest you find something that will recharge you and then make a standing appointment with yourself and defend it with wild enthusiasm.    

Here's to shining brightly together!
Lacy

 

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

By Admin 01.26.2011 – 2:32 pm

15 Comments

Photos © 2011 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Chilly Monday: Leigh’s White Bean Chicken Chili

The Dish

Since the winter seems insistent on being just shy of unbearable and since cold and flu season is upon us, I thought it might be time to bring out the big guns. Now, I love to cook, and cook often, but if you ask Coach what the best thing I make is, I am almost sure he would say it's this. He might be right (I am just pretty proud of myself today aren't I?!)

But seriously, if you need something hearty, delicious and that looks great on the table this is your soup. It is also incredibly good the second day.

My search for the perfect white bean chili began a handful of years ago after having a tiny cup of the creamiest most delicious variety at a family friend's catered party. I tried to get the recipe from the caterer. No dice. I tried to search for it on the internet hoping that some disgruntled ex-employee had plastered the world with it in revenge. Nope. Then I set out to re-create it myself. Though, I knew in my heart the ingredients that were in that thimble full of soup I had fallen in love with were far richer than I could ever bear to use myself, I tried to make a version close enough to honoring that without undermining the healthy qualities inherent to soups and chilies. This is by no means a diet or lite chili, but it is a balanced soup and is in itself a meal.

The bones of this recipe came from a Gourmet chili recipe circa 1996. My one tip when preparing to make this is pretend you are on a cooking show and measure and chop everything in advance. Also, go ahead and combine all of the spices in a small bowl, mix them together and then add them all at once. The other tip is that when re-working this recipe, I tripled the amount of chicken stock used originally, making this a regular chili consistency more appropriate for having a whole bowl instead of a fancy thimble-full. You can play around with the amount of stock you put in to your liking, and also, when re-heating if at any point it has gotten a little thick on you, just re-heat it on the stove with some additional stock. The flavor will still be great.

Leigh’s White Bean Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

3  16oz cans (mostly drained) of white navy beans (Canellini)

1 large yellow onion diced  (I find it is best if you stick the whole thing in the food processor and mince the heck out of it… makes the soup creamier and is less emotionally draining than chopping the dang thing)

1 stick butter

¼ cup flour

2 C. chicken broth

1 ¾ C light coconut milk (I use this to keep it dairy-free but you could also use half & half or whole milk here…it does not taste coco-nutty if you use this though)

1 tbs. chili powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

1 4oz. can diced mild green chilies, drained

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

1 ½ cups frozen roasted corn (kernels) (Trader Joe's sells an AWESOME frozen fire-roasted corn, I use that)

 

Garnish:

Sour cream

Blue corn chips

Shredded or grated Monterey Jack Cheese

All optional.

 

Directions:

In a large pot boil water for chicken breasts. Boil for 10-12 minutes, until cooked. Drain, chop and set aside.

In a skillet cook the onion in 2 tbs. of butter over medium heat until softened. Set aside.

In a large heavy soup pot, melt the rest of the stick of butter (6 tbs) over  lowish heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly for 3 minutes or so, until the flour is completely incorporated and the mixture turns the color of a manila envelope. It is important to whisk fast and constantly so the mixture does not burn or brown.

Stir in onion and gradually add coconut milk and 1 Cup of the chicken broth, still whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in spices, add beans, chilies, corn and chicken and cook mixture 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in remaining chicken stock and turn heat down to med/low and cook for 20 minutes.

Garnish with crunched up blue corn chips and a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheese and Enjoy!!

By Leigh 01.24.2011 – 5:14 pm

6 Comments

photo from Corbis

Aaaaaand she’s back!

journal

Hooooooooo weee! That was a doozy! Thanks all of you for your well-wishes, that plus a solid 48+ hours in bed all but whooped this bug. Last week feels a bit like a dream to me, but I have to say that I am totally grateful that the stars aligned and I was afforded the time I needed to rest for a few days.

I am good at one or two things. I can probably get you there from here (impeccable sense of direction), I can tell you any state's capitol by memory (good 5th grade teacher), I can sing every word to R.E.M's "It's the End of the World as We Know it" (too much idle time in junior high) and I make incredible guacamole (if I do say so myself). But the thing I am best at, above all else, is sleeping.

Seriously, ask anyone. If I could make a living sleeping, I would be a Fortune 500 company. I am a wreck if I don't get my 8 hours ("or NINE!" Coach says), my mom even told me that I used to put myself down for naps when I was little. I am serious about sleep. So given the chance to be in bed for 3 whole days...Whell! Let's just say, I did some of my best work.

And Voila! That plus this:

From my darling husband. And of course Lucy was a constant companion (she really went above and beyond):

And I am back! Ready to show this week who's boss!

I have such fun stuff to share with you all this week! A new style board, a HUGE announcement, Lacy is back with Habits of Happiness this week and I have some new Sweetheart Sponsors to share with you! ALL that, and I am going to share my chili recipe with you! I know! And you thought this was just going to be another chilly Monday (har har).

Ok, I think I may be showing signs of cabin fever...better go walk around the block or something.

xoxo

By Leigh 01.24.2011 – 9:51 am

5 Comments

Image from Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends"

Home Sick

journal

I am home in bed with the flu. Like full-on been in bed the whole day, don't know what time it even is home sick. I am not sick very often and certainly cannot remember the last time I was bed-bound (which is lucky!), that it feels very strange to be out of it for even just a few days. My 'it' keeps me running pretty fast and I don't have much time or use for being sick (I mean, who does?), but what I find kind of amazing in these moments is that something can stop us.

We have made a lifestyle of multi-tasking, over-achieving and making ourselves available to what we do at all available costs. We make ourselves un-stoppable as a way of life, and while this has it's benefits, it is not always healthy. I think now more than ever most of us are working hard to achieve some sort of balance in our saturated (wonderful) lives, but we often still don't take enough time to just rest.

REST. Its a beautiful little word. Calm in even it's utterance. Like part of a lullaby sung by, if I had my choice, Julie Andrews..

But when your body has had enough, and renders you bed-bound it does not sing it to you softly. It grabs you by the shoulders, pushes you down and puts it's foot on your chest yelling: "REST YOU BIG DOPE!"

And so you must.

I like the idea that our bodies are bigger than us, they can stop us to rest. Nature is bigger than us, a good ice storm can level even the most sophisticated plans and keep you home. And often life is bigger than us, and I am learning that sometimes, we need to get back in bed and let it be.

xoxo

By Leigh 01.20.2011 – 6:06 pm

13 Comments

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

The Big Show

The Biz

Hello!! So sorry to have been away for so long. I was the fair city of Atlanta teaching them how to drive in the snow and ice. Tee hee. Actually, I was down there for the past week setting up and opening our very first Curly Girl Design permanent showroom.

For those of you not in the gift industry or retail, a showroom is a place where a company displays it's products so that buyers from all kinds of retail stores can come and order them for their stores in your neighborhoods. Many people refer to this as "Market". Curly Girl Design went to our first 'market' 8 years ago this May when we exhibited at the National Stationery Show. For the past 8 years, we have set up our booth in 'temporary' booths that we set up and break down each show and then ship home. This year, we found ourselves needing much more space to display all of our wares, so I decided to take a little(ok, kind of big) risk and sign a lease for a permanent showroom at the Atlanta Mart.

So after much planning and coordinating and not sleeping, we got to Atlanta early Sunday morning, got our badges, and walked up to our new home:

Basically, the floor was down and the walls were painted and we had a LOT of work to do! A few trips to IKEA and the hardware store and we got started. We worked until late at night, bobbed and weaved with a very inconvenient and unreasonable ice storm (it was a bit like the 'end of days' down there for awhile...no kidding) drank wine from a box and mastered the Allen wrench. It is worth noting that I had an expert team of "doers" with me, armed with clever, cunning and can-do attitudes. My gratitude to them cannot be measured in boxes of wine.

So after three days and three nights and a ton of laughs we got everything put together.

The goal was to create a relaxing yet totally fun space where Curly Girl customers could come and see what we are all about. We wanted them to come in, have a seat and hang out with us. Oh, and we wanted them to fall in love with Curly Girl Design and buy lots of cards so that you never have to look very far to find your favorite stuff! I have to say, I think it turned out pretty darn cute and our plan worked! People came, they sat, and so far, we have had a pretty good show!! There was even a fancy ribbon-cutting ceremony moment! I love giant scissors!

The hope is that as we grow, this space will grow with us and become a bit of a home base for Curly Girl customers. We hope to have to buy more and more cases of prosecco each year because so many people are coming to our Saturday night party and we hope to have more and more good laughs and great visits with our industry friends and customers.

My favorite part of trade show season is getting to see all of the other vendors that have become great friends over the years. It is a bit like a traveling circus. We go from city to city a few times a year and set up our little village and put on our little show. Then we pack it all up again and see everyone in the next town. You grow to love it and look forward to catching up. I loved seeing friends Michelle, Laurie, April and Luke. And I got a great little visit in with my girl Kelly Rae.

 I also spent some time at the Demdaco showroom doing a signing to promote my line with them. It is always so fun to chat with customers and hear how much they love selling Curly Girl!

My other job while I am at the trade shows is to shop for Marmalade. So not only am I a vendor, I am also a buyer. It is more than a little bit crazy and my time is always cut short. It is a lot to have on one plate and I am glad to have such a great group of staffers at Curly Girl to allow me to get it all done. I think I found some real treasures for the shop this year and can't wait to share them with you once our Marmalade website launches... one of these decades. (No, Lauren has been working hard getting it ready to go SOON!) So, that is the update. I missed the blog for sure, but it was nice to be totally absorbed with real-life things for a bit. I am glad to be home, even if it is only for a few moments. I am off to the next circus town on Friday...

xoxo

By Leigh 01.17.2011 – 10:54 pm

14 Comments

Good friend and totally ESSENTIAL showroom helper L.C. picks names!

Love Fest

The Biz

Ohmyheavens!!! I am so completly blown away by all of your comments and tweets and posts!! My heart is just exploding!

Let me tell you, if you are ever feeling down or just need a pick me up ask people to tell you what they like about you and you will feel 11 feet tall!!
I cannot thank you all enough!  We have never, ever had that many comments or posts for anything and I loved reading every single one! Thank you all for sharing and being so generous with your big giant hearts.

So, since there was such a huge response, I decided that I couldn't just give away one little tee shirt. I have decided to pick 5 names instead! So, after we finished setting up what we could of our new showroom (details to follow),we put all the names in a vase and since Lucy is snowed-in in Boston, L.C. drew 5 names!

Our T-shirt winners are:

Marianne MacDougall

Amanda St. Clair

Stephanie Bryan

Kathy Meritt

&

Stephanie Alaine

Congratulations girls!! Emily will email you for your info and get you your tees. Thank you all for your stories and entries and for being with me on this adventure!

I am working on a showroom post, but until then, have to be my perkiest self for all the brave buyers that made it to Market today!

If you are AT or are COMING to Market, we are in a new location, you can now find us in a full permanent showroom:

Curly Girl Design - Bldg. 2WW Shrm #690a

We are also in Tango Showroom: Bldg 2 Shrm #1000b

 

Stop by and say hello!

xoxo

By Leigh 01.12.2011 – 12:39 pm

6 Comments

2.5 Curly Girl Staffers! Our girls Laura & Erin (with .5 on the way!!) model our new tees and their undying friendship.

Brand Spankin’ New T-Shirt Give Away!!

The Biz and Inspired

Happy Friday all!! To celebrate the successful completion of one whole week of 2011 I have decided to do a give away! In truth, I had so much fun doing the holiday give aways I am having a little withdrawal. Mostly, I am just super excited that our new tees are back from the printer (they still smell all cotton-y and inky! I love that!) and just sitting here being adorable until we start selling them at the upcoming tradeshows and get them up online. So I figured at least somebody should have one!

In an effort to keep to my word 'grow', I am going to ask for your help. I need your help spreading the word about this little blog and about Curly Girl. I know many of you so graciously have tweeted or blogged about us in the past and every little whisper helps in small business land, so I appreciate it very much. It makes a huge difference to have people who genuinely love our product get so excited about it that they just can't keep it to themselves! Enthusiasm is contagious, and of course the best testimony there is. So if you would, tell us what you love about Curly Girl, this blog, or your favorite product and then tell the world!

To enter, comment on this post with your love note, and for additional entries, blog about it, tweet about it, facebook it, yell it from the roof tops, wear a sandwich board...whatever stirs you (just remember, they must be NEW blogs/tweets/etc and  to leave a second or third comment with a link to your, um, expression). Each comment will be entered to win a Curly Girl Organic Tee of your choice!

The winner will be picked Monday 1/10 at 12 noon. (I will need a break from hanging shelving and putting together our showroom!)

Thanks in advance! You all are magic.

xoxo

By Leigh 01.07.2011 – 1:40 pm

98 Comments

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