Photo by Ezra Caldwell:

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

P.S. The image above is by Ezra Caldwell of Fast Boy Cycles. I stumbled on his blog recently and have been following his journey (whether he knows it or not!). I have not been so moved by someone's resolve and general spirit like this in awhile. He is a lucky and brave soul. Check him out here.


Shout your dreams

I read somewhere recently that children don't whisper their dreams and it made me pause.  I love the idea of a whisper.  I say it all the time... that I am whispering out this or that into the universe on the behalf of someone I love.  It comes from the place of pure sincerity in me.  I love to whisper BUT when it comes to dreaming I'm in absolute agreement... it's time we shout!  It's true that children shout their dreams out at you and any one who will listen.  Children say their dreams as is if it's so because all they know is infinite possibility.   And who am I to say that you can't grown up to have a unicorn farm and rainbow snow cone stand?!

So in response consider that today is the day...
Today is the day to explore your infinite possibilities!
Today is the day to know your dreams can be.  
Today is the day for less stress, more energy and an abundance of happy.   
Today is the day to play.
Today is the day to hoola hoop, to run and jump and be outside.  
Today is the day to create.
Today is the day for focus.
Today is the day for calm.
Today is the day to believe in yourself.
Today is the day to become the person you always believed you could be.
Today is the day to open your mind and your heart.
Today is the day to let go of your limitations.
Today is the day to write down all your ideas for happiness!  

I hope this finds you inspired.  I hope this finds your dreams very much alive!
Sending shouts, not whispers of love to you today.

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

By Admin 05.31.2011 – 3:04 pm


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

Each one a memory.


By Leigh 05.30.2011 – 2:00 pm

1 Comment

image via Pinterest origin: unknown (sorry!)

The un-list maker.


With a long weekend staring me right in the face and not a travel plan in sight (phew!) I caught myself making lists. Projects that I need to do, things I want to do, stuff around the house that I really SHOULD do. Plus, a little time with friends, walks in the park, first of summer meals that I want to plan, oh, and I will be working the shop every day and need to get some holiday cards finished up. Suddenly my 'long' weekend was only long on stress and things to do. So I will do only one thing this weekend (outside of my work responsibilities). I will be: Leigh Standley, Girl Gardener. 
There are 5 heirloom rose plants on my back porch that are looking for a partly sunny spot to call home and about one hundred million helicopter seed things from our maple tree that would like to make babies in my freshly mulched beds to eliminate. So, that is it. A list of one. Me + dirt = love this weekend.

Man! It feels good to scratch out all of those other things!! Try it!! I dare you to make a list that just says: "Drink Iced tea and read magazines." (technically two, but they can be done simultaneously). Wouldn't that be a coup!

Have a great one! Whatever is on your list!



P.S. If anyone knows the artist of this adorable garden image, please let me know! I want to sing it from the rooftops it's so cute!!

By Leigh 05.27.2011 – 10:09 am


An open letter to my conditioner…


Dear Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Conditioner,

I would like to take a moment to thank you for existing. You have become my one indispensible beauty aid, and I simply cannot bear to imagine my head of curls without you. I miss you between washes. Most days, when I have not used you, I wear a ponytail. Whether it is your actual talent, or my sheer, unwavering belief in your abilities to smooth frizz and provide shine without weighing my sometimes fine tresses down, I hold you in the highest regard and sing your praises to all who will listen. Whenever I get a compliment on my hair, I always give you the credit. I almost always have to check my luggage because of you, though one time I forgot and you were discovered in my carry on. I feared for the worst! Thankfully, the TSA officer was also a curly-haired conditioner fanatic. She let me through without trouble and a wink of solidarity. Though, I often wish you were not quite so expensive, I find that when compared to the emotional costs of looking like a young Tito Jackson (no offense to Mr. Jackson), you are more than worth it.

Also, thank you for being available in giant size.

Sincerely, and most enthusiastically yours,

Leigh Standley

By Leigh 05.26.2011 – 8:48 am


photos via Pinterest

6 reasons I’m glad the world didn’t end:


After nearly ten days away, in New York for the National Stationery Show and in St. Louis celebrating my grandma's 90th birthday I am back into the swing of things. There is so much to talk about! But one thing must first be addressed...we get to spend another day here on good old earth! Now, before you think I am more "whimsical" than you thought, I did not believe for a second that May 21st was the end of days (though, it would've been the "I told you so" of "I told you so's" wouldn't it!!?) But on May 22nd I did find myself thinking of all the reasons that I am SUPER glad to have more time to spend in the world. Here are six of them:

1.) Lilacs ~ There can simply not be enough lilacs in any given room. If I were Oprah, I would have giant bunches of fresh lilacs delivered to me weekly no matter where I was in the world. Just so I could smell them. (image from: covetliving )

2.) Yellow Dresses ~ Is there anything prettier or fresher than the perfect color yellow in the perfect summer dress? (image from: eshakiti )

3.) The possibility of love ~ every single day we get the chance to fall in love. The possibility of it is around every corner. How nice is that? New love or the same love you woke up next to yesterday...every day is a new day. (image from: 27media)

4.) Polka Dots ~ they make everything a little happier. (image from: 30something drama queen)

5.) Pie. (image from: babble )

6.) Adventure ~ All the places I have never been, all the places I want to go back to, all the roads and seas and sights I have yet to encounter. All the people I have yet to meet there. For me, there is always always something to explore. (image from: 6th street design)

So there are just six of millions. It is a fun exersise...try it! Remind yourself of what you love and why!

What are your six?



By Leigh 05.24.2011 – 11:34 am


Flowers by God. Bag by Lovell, available at Marmalade

A few truths


We are always changing. From a cellular level to an emotional one there is pretty much constant motion. So though it is often not popular or convenient to admit, we are never the same as we were a moment earlier and we are constantly adjusting to ourselves. Many of us get along quite well appearing consistent and steady, some of us are more obviously in flux.

At some point in our evolution as a polite society, it became unpopular to appear to change constantly. To change your mind, change sides, gain weight, get wrinkles, sell everything and move to Tahiti. I guess it doesn't feel safe to people. We like steady, dependable things. That makes sense. And so, there is a balance. A functional need to be consistent, and the actual fact, that we change. We all work hard everyday to do that dance.

What I am finding to be a bit of a pothole on that road, is forgetting to let myself accept that change. I often catch myself living with some level of discomfort because I feel differently than I am supposed to about something, or my experience is different than I wish it was, or I just plain have not caught up to myself. Then there are the very cellular-change moments that my pants are too tight or I have a new grey hair. I have a hard time accepting that as 'motion' too.

It makes me feel disorganized and embarrassed on some level for that disorganization and lack of consistency. So I thought I would take a moment from time to time to record some truths about myself and where I am at right now. To help the understanding that my next set of truths could be very different. And that is still the truth.

Today's Truths (in no particular order):

1.) I want to do more than I may actually be able to do well.

2.) There is a lot that I don't know about business.

3.) Lucy is quite possibly the best dog on the planet.

4.) I am currently not being the friend I want to be.

5.) Marriage is really really hard.

6.) Fresh flowers are like drugs for me. They are my quickest way to happy.

7.) Cheese is a close second.

8.) I miss my family. It exhausts me to be far away from them.

9.) I probably need to go up a pants size. (see #7)

10.) I have many many blessings in my life.

11.) I am winging it. There was no master plan here. Pretty much making it up as I go along.


That's where I'm at today. How about you?


By Leigh 05.13.2011 – 9:50 am


Photo by my Dad in 1973

Chicken or the Egg?


Because the glorious event of my birth happend on May 10th, my Mom has always had to share Mother's Day with my birthday. Or rather, I have always had to share my birthday with Mother's Day. This year they were two days apart, but many years fall on the same day begging the obvious question... who should get the corner brownie!? She is a mother because of me, and I only have a birthday because she skipped jazzercize for 9 months. (This was a much more reasonable arguement when I was an only child. My brother coming along really screwed up the balance...).

Any way you look at it though, the truth is that the fact that the other exists is one of the things we like best about the world. To me, the world is so much more magical, colorful and exciting with my Mom in it, and I would venture to guess that the world became a place my Mom liked a whole lot better once I was in it with her.

So, I will split the brownie, and say thank you.

Thanks for having me Mom (and Dad!), and Happy Mother's Day!! I love you.


By Leigh 05.10.2011 – 1:50 pm


Ethnic Eclectic - Style Board

Style File

Good morning pigeons! It is a beautiful spring day here in Boston and when the weather turns nice and I have even had the tiniest peek at the beach as I did last weekend my style-mind snaps instantly to exotic places. I love to assemble travel ensembles that can flit from exploration of new lands to the very civilized cocktail hour at your petit hotel or (even better) fabulous camp set up under the stars. Real gypsy style.

As you can see, my imagination gets the best of me sometimes, and I may end up walking around my small suburban American town dressed like a fortuneteller, but I will admit to loving every bit of it! You never know when adventure may strike!

There are so many bright, patterned, jangling, sequined beautiful things available this season but I have picked just a few for today's expedition. I hope you enjoy them!


1.) Printwork Scarf ~ Anthropologie

2.) "Life's Truth" Jade Mala ~ Satya

3.) Bead Pom Pom Tunic ~ Calypso

4.) Skeem Candles ~ Marmalade (617-484-0093)

5.) Gold Connected Bangle Cuff ~ Satya

6.) Calypso for Target Sequin Bag ~ Target

7.) Pink Jade Large Hoops ~ Marmalade (671-484-0093)

8.) Koli Sandal ~ Matta

9.) Celine Bandeau Dress ~ Calypso

10.) Embellished Gauze Top ~ Old Navy

11.) Rich Hippie Organic Perfume ~ Rich Hippie

What are your faves??


By Leigh 05.06.2011 – 9:08 am

1 Comment

She’s Crafty! - Mermaid Headdress Tutorial

She's Crafty

It is common knowledge that the older we get the more like our parents we become, so DNA dictates that the older I get, the more interested I am in showing my love through food (thanks Dad!) and the more likely it gets that I will learn to put together a beautiful garden (courtesy of my Mom). It's true, it's happening. But when I catch myself saying things like "Shut the door! I am not paying to air condition the whole neighborhood!" I get a little spooked.

But the truth is that if I have a crafty bone in my whole body, and I may have a few, they are without question gifts from my mother. My mom could make a suitable wedding dress out of toilet paper and bobby pins, and though the occasion did not require that level of ingenuity, when Molly's birthday rolled around I wanted to do something a little goofy and a little special for her big day. I thought about what my Mom would do and tried to channel all of her "ya-ya" creativity. I decided that a really special occasion requires a headdress, and for this beachy bonanza...a mermaid's headdress. I think my Mom would be pretty proud of what I came up with, and Molly danced the night away in all in all, success!

Here's what you will need to make one of your own:


1.) Scissors

2.) Glue Gun

3.) Glitter (Glitter Glue is easier)

4.) Stapler

5.) A few starfish and a sand dollar

6.) assorted small shells or embellishments

7.) Gel Matte Medium (Modge Podge works well) and a brush ( I like foam)

8.) Florist Stem Wire

9.) Fancy trimmings

10.) Ribbon (a few colors and sizes)

11.) Sticky-back Glitter Foam sheets (x2)

Not pictured: pencil, duct tape


Before you begin, grab your brush and brush a thin coat of gel matte medium on the front and backsides of your starfish and sand dollars (if they are real). Set them aside to dry. This will help seal them so they don't flake or discolor...or you know, attract critters.

Take one piece of foam and trace your crown shape on the paperback side (I laid out my starfish and loosely traced around them). Cut out your shape, then lay it down on your second piece of foam (glitter sides out) and trace it. Cut out your second piece and set aside.

Cut your ribbons so that you have two sets that when attached to either end of your headdress, will tie in a generous bow at the back of the head (I made mine about 12" each). Stack one set of ribbons and fold over the ends about .5". Staple folded end to the back side of your first cut piece of foam (glitter side out ...obviously!). Make sure staples go all the way through, you can reinforce by stapling from both sides, as you will cover the staples later. Repeat this on the other end of the headdress.

With ribbons attached, take 3 or 4 strands of florist's stem wire and lay at the bottom edge of your crown piece. Neatly tape over them with duct tape and make sure they are secure. Trim the ends so nothing sticks past the sides. You can now bend and shape your headdress to fit your head.

Run a bead of hot glue along the bottom edge of the crown on the backside and affix fancy trim so it sticks out beyond the edge. If you have any other embellishments that will need to be extra secure or stick out from the back, add them now, securing with hot glue and/or duct tape.

Now take your second piece of cut foam, remove the paperback (only from this side), match up to the first side and press them together. For added support you can put some hot glue between them first. If your two foam pieces don't match up exactly, trim them at this point to match.

If you have any further trimmings, hot glue them to the front and edges, running your finger over them so they are smooth.

Shape your headdress into a gentle curve and begin to affix your starfish, shells and sand dollars with hot glue. Embellish and bedazzle to your heart's content and don't forget to glitter!!

Tie it to your pretty head and dance around!

What would you make a headdress for? Do tell!


By Leigh 05.04.2011 – 9:13 pm


Photos by me and Lizzy Flanagan

Four Fabulous Decades, one Fabulous Party!

Photos and journal

Today is my good friend Molly's 40th birthday. Molly and I have been friends for nearly 10 years and have been on many amazing adventures together. So far the grandest (and most recent) of those adventures has been bringing Curly Girl Design into the world. Molly is our Operations Manager, which means she helps run the show and makes sure I am staying out of trouble. Her unofficial job title is "The Bottom Line".

Despite my profession and seeming knack for words, there is simply not a card big enough or words fancy enough to express what an incredibly bright spot Molly is in our lives and in the world.

So, we threw her a party!

Molly's first love is the ocean so we kept it close, celebrating on Cape Cod at her family home. Our group of friends is a clever, creative and resourceful bunch. Everybody had a part in bringing the night together from the 'Oyster hour" at dusk to stoking the fire pits and roasting s'mores while dancing the night away (some of us more enthusiastically than others...ahem...)to Molly's favorite tunes brought to us by her favorite dude.

I was in charge of décor, and tried my best to fete our favorite mermaid with something beautiful, casual and beachy chic. Everything we used was either something we already had, or was extremely budget friendly (Molly loves a budget!) and thankfully, the weather cooperated and the sun even peeked through! We all stuffed ourselves with perfect pulled pork sandwiches and blueberry pie made with love by friends. Singing, dancing and celebrating under the was a night to remember! (thanks Lizzy for the good pics!)

It's incredible how revitalizing a day or so away from your day-to-day life, and focused on celebrating the best things can be. Time spent focusing your attention on making someone else feel totally loved and appreciated has a way of filling our tanks in an unanticipated way. It's as if all of the molecules we send out with the intention of making someone else feel good bounce around a little extra and we get to stand in that light too. It's really a fantastic deal for everyone involved. I plan on doing more of it!

So this one goes out to my sweet, smiley, snorts-when-she-laughs darling friend. Thanks for the journey, and for letting me stand next to your big bright light. Happy Birthday.

By Leigh 05.03.2011 – 7:49 pm


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