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

Small Victories


I promise not to thrill you with all of my tiny novice-gardener accomplishments, but I do believe that life is often made up of a million tiny moments/miracles/victories that deserve to be observed from time to time.

I HAVE MY FIRST ROSE!!! The 5 heirloom plants that I planted a few weekends ago are not only not dead yet, they are actually blooming!! I stand before you victorious! This one is an Abraham Darby rose and it is glorious! Not to sound strange, but plants still sort of amaze me. This little plant, that someone far away sent me in the mail in a bag and that I severely neglected on the back porch for several weeks because I was too busy, didn't hold it against me. It didn't judge me, or complain, or try to prove anything. It just put it's little roots down, stretched it's leaves out and put all of it's little effort into producing this! And it is so so pretty!

We have plenty of big scary things to worry about that it's nice to take a moment and appreciate the little efforts and the little victories.

What tiny things are making your day worth it today??


By Leigh 06.21.2011 – 12:16 pm


An Ode to Orange - Style Board

Style File

A good day to you!! After a fabulous and restful weekend I have decided to spend my free time (shheeah!) making a style-board dedication to my very favorite color of them all: Orange. This was so fun that I think all the style boards this summer will be color-themed! I know, you are giddy with excitement. Oddly, I actually am.


I would like to dedicate this one to the hard-working, delightfully happy and unfortunately often-relegated-to-the-rhelm-of-hunting-or-construction-equiptment color of the day. Let's give it up for ORANGE!! (pause for applause)


May this conjure for you daydreams of creamsicles, bright sunny days, big orange-wedge smiles at a Saturday soccer game, the scent of orange flower in a far off land or a garland of marigolds draped festively in a party tent on a summer night.


1.) Jo Malone Orange Blossom - Saks Fifth Avenue Ever since my trip to Morocco the scent of Orange Blossom sends me over the edge with travel-fever. It makes me want to eat aromatic and savory things and wear a million gold bangles while I explore far off lands. This is a nice balance of pure orange flower water and gentle citrus that you could wear say, to the office instead.


2.) Creamsicles - have a flavor so specific and so perfectly designated that when you taste it you are instantly transformed into a 7 year old standing barefoot next to the Ice Cream truck well past your bedtime on a summer night. Or maybe it's just me. I found a great recipe for healthy home-made versions on this fabulous blog


3.) Retro Dot Underwire Tank - J.Crew It's not itsy bitsy, teeny weeny or yellow, but I think this would do the trick at the beach this summer.


4.) Time Will Tell Watch - Marmalade (call: 617-484-0093) This adorable resin bracelet style watch is in no way a necessity, but neither, I suppose, is a watch at all these days! Why not have fun everytime you look at your wrist!??


5.) Essie Nailpolish in Vermillionaire - Essie My favorite for toes anytime of year. I should never stray. I do, but I just shouldn't.


6.)Vintage 66 Tangerine Judy Hoops - Max and Chloe These are the perfect foil to a workish navy blue button down or that new maxi dress you have been meaning to wear. They make my gypsy heart sing a bohemian rhapsody.


7.)Horkelia Shift - Anthro I saw a lovely lady wearing this lovely dress and I about fell over it was so pretty. It is the most bewitching color of corally-orangish-red it would make the Snow Queen look like she'd been in Cabo for two weeks!


8.) Flutter Stripe Tee - Madewell A subtle stripe is still a stripe and add a sweet tangerine color and it's a summer staple in my book!


9.) Brighton Orange Stripe Snood - TopShop white tee + his chinos + skimmers +this scarf = the perfect outfit for hitting the flea market or the farm stand this summer.


10.) Linnea's Lights Candle in Mimosa - Marmalade (call: 617-484-0093) We have been long time huge fans of this line of hand-poured candles, but this new scent has us reeling! Seriously, we got them in on Wednesday and have not stopped burning one since! Smells like sweet citrusy florals and a brand new day.


11.) Hesta Orange Tie-up Espadrille Sandals - Topshop HOLY MOLY! I wish there were more than seven days in a week to wear these!! Nothing rhymes with orange, but I say everything GOES with it... here's to trying!

Let me know your faves!

By Leigh 06.20.2011 – 2:43 pm


Sweet Victory! Sweet Treats!


I went to sleep last night with a smile on my face the size of the Stanley Cup. Congratulations to the Boston Bruins (and their dedicated fans!) for the first Championship win in 39 years!! To celebrate our local big-little bakery and treat company Dancing Deer is selling these adorable (and quite clever) hockey puck brownies!! Why didn't I think of that!!?? What a fun thing to send to your favorite hockey-lover at work! Maybe not today, as I am sure there are many playing hockey-hookie today, but tomorrow would be fine!

In other news, I went to my local Whole Foods Market the other day and picked up the most recent copy of Where Women Cook magazine and squeeled outloud when I turned to the back page and found my new (like, so new I-don't-even-have-one-yet) "Pancakes are from Heaven" print on the back page!!
While I knew it would be in there, I had sort of forgotten (every day is like Christmas around here sometimes...) and was so excited. I am sharing with you, because this is totally frame-able and worth picking up the magazine anyway! Two-for-one! Yippee!!

Have a great day!

By Leigh 06.16.2011 – 10:28 am


Sneak Peek #4 - Holiday 2011


This day seems to be getting the best of me, but finishing up this card and the Holiday 2011 series provided a little bright spot! I just love how this one turned out. Both folksy and sincere and who could resist the Christmas Donkey!?  I had a bit of a funny realization while making this one, but will have to save the story for another time! It's teacher gift time at Marmalade!! I'm busy being a 'pencil pusher' of sorts!!


By Leigh 06.14.2011 – 1:34 pm


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

State of the studio

Photos and Sketchbook

Good morning and happy Monday!! I am still in studio for part of today and thought I would post photographic proof. Just in case any of you thought I was a neat freak, this should put your mind at ease.


By Leigh 06.13.2011 – 8:42 am


Sneak Peek #3 - Holiday 2011


Here is what I have been working on for Holiday 2011...a couple of last minute additions coming! This one makes me giggle. Enjoy!


By Leigh 06.10.2011 – 11:55 am


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

Scatter Joy Signing - Appleton, WI

Photos and The Biz and Gypsy Soul

This past weekend I enjoyed my first trip to the lovely town of Appleton, WI for an in-store signing at Scatter Joy. The event was an absolute blast! Owners Janet and Lori went above and beyond, far and away, and way over the top with cute fun stuff for me and their customers!! Their friends and family were just so lovely and I felt so welcome that I can't believe I ever left!! When I arrived Friday, the girls met me at the airport with some of Wisconsin's finest (cheese curds!!) and whisked me away for a day of fun, complete with a visit to see the Compassion Project which both of their daughters participated in and just took my breath away.

Side bar: What do you suppose the effects are of having 7000 people meditating on the idea of 'compassion' at the same time? Pretty awesome to think about what is possible there.

That evening the weather was perfect and we were treated to a lovely dinner at the home of a more than lovely friend and customer of the shop. (Thanks Missy!!)

After a night of rest, and much time spent determining my 'sleep number' at the hotel (I'm a solid 35!), I arrived to the shop, which was most adorable and completely decked out with Curly Girl!!

Do not miss the chance to visit this shop if you are anywhere NEAR the area! It is stuffed to the gills with colorful and creative treasures! I will do a little shop tour soon. I had such a wonderful time and am so grateful so many folks came out to see me! It was nice to be back in the Midwest for a moment and just revel in the easy conversation and simple nice-ness of everyone. Thanks to all who came, all who helped and all who made this possible!

Until next time Wisconsin....


By Leigh 06.09.2011 – 11:14 am


Sunday Surfing -pretty. clever.

Sunday Surfing

Hiya! Just back from my fun fun day at Scatter Joy and will gather myself and post about that soon! Found this little ditty over at Making it Lovely and was quite taken with it. Thought you might like it to. Don't you want to go find a quiet afternoon and a sun-lit farmhouse to make cake in? I do!


By Leigh 06.04.2011 – 8:52 pm


Me, at 5 - photo by my mom

It takes a village. (The hair post)


I suppose I asked for it. You don't name a company "Curly Girl Design" and not get calls asking if you make or sell shampoo. If I had a dollar for every time...


I don't mind really.

The curly-headed are a special breed. We are almost always clever by nature and most probably resourceful by necessity. We will seek high and low, near and far for a system, product, treatment, magic potion or ancient tribal dance to calm our frizz and make our natural gift (not that we have always thought of it this way) shine and bounce. For most of us, this has been a life-long battle journey that has included a range of looks and emotions. From the uncontainable joy of finding a product that you love (and can find, you know, here on earth), stylists that get it (!) and (many) that don’t, bad decisions around bangs, super-short cuts (don’t get me wrong, Kerri Russell looked fabulous…) to all-out temper tantrums when any one of the million delicate steps in the curl-courting process goes wrong and you are doomed to a day looking like a standard poodle.


While I often get asked about my personal curl regimen, after the post about my beloved conditioner, I got so many requests I thought I would take a post to share. Just a few things before I begin:


1.)    I am in no way a professional. Not in anyway that you could define professional. My expertise is simply my own process with my own head of hair and about 19 years of trial and error. I had 80’s bangs and brushed my hair out until sophomore year in high school (because that’s what Libby McCormac did) and didn’t even really know that my hair was this curly because I never let it be. I just knew that it was unruly and that something must be done.


2.)    I am not being paid to advertise any specific product or service, this is just the formula that I am using today and it seems to be working well for me. The products featured here can be found at your local drug store and/or a salon that sells Bumble & Bumbe products (for the conditioner).


3.)    I have tried LOTS and LOTS of products over the years and am FULLY open to trying others, but only on a day when I don’t have to leave the house.


4.)    Every head of curls is different. Mine is fine and not too thick. I have larger ringlets (not tiny tight ones) I can straighten it easily with a blow dryer and it tends to be dry. I try not to wash it everyday.


5.)    I use approximately 3 beauty products total in my life, so simplicity and quickness are key factors in my routine. I don’t even bother using a diffuser unless I need to be somewhere fast and it is below freezing out.


That said, here is what I have been using:


The process is simple; every other day (even sometimes every 3rd day) I shampoo my hair with whatever is in the shower at the time. Right now, Coach and I are using Herbal Essences Drama Clean. It’s nice.


After I have thoroughly rinsed the shampoo out, I squeeze the water out of my hair and use a good solid fist-full of Bumble & Bumble Curl Conscious Conditioner (9 pumps -yep. 9.). I comb this through with my fingers or a wide tooth comb. This is the only combing that my hair ever sees. Nary a brush or fine-toothed object is allowed near this wild mane.


I then leave the conditioner in my hair until I am ready to get out of the shower. I rinse MOST of it out, leaving a little in (just enough that you can easily run your fingers through). I squeeze as much water out of it as I can before touching it with a towel. I gently squeeze dry my hair with a big towel and shake it out.


At this point I move on to a hand-towel or one of those specially absorbent ones if there is one around.


I grab my spray gel, right now I am using Pantene “Curls” Spray Gel which is nice, too much alcohol in a gel and it gets dry and crispy. I have also known and loved DevaCurl’s AnGel, but prefer a spray gel as to not get gloppy or do any unnecessary touching. I flip my hair over, spray (about 5 sprays), flip it back and spray in about 5 sprays.

Then it’s all about scrunch drying with the hand towel. From the bottom up and making sure to get the back and crown of my head. Also, if I am going to do any rearranging, parting or smoothing the front, this is the time. After this: NO TOUCHING. ONLY SCRUNCHING.


Then it’s up to the gods and the weather. I am off to air-dry.

Wasn’t that riveting? Oddly, it will have been for some, and those fair maidens, are my tribe members. It takes a village.


I should follow this by saying that when I named my company, I wasn’t even really thinking about my hair.

At that point, in college, my hair had become so much a part of my identity and personality that it was more a concept. It was a lifestyle, an attitude, and a way of being. That’s what I wanted to communicate with my brand, and without really thinking too much about it; I think we have started to.

Being a Curly Girl is not about having ringlets on your head, it’s about how you see the world. It’s about being who you are and not brushing it out. It’s about embracing the wildness of life (with a little conditioner) and taking it as it comes. It’s about having a little twinkle, a wink and nudge, a smirk. It’s like having an inside joke with the universe…those that get it, really get it and they are our tribe members.


Hope that was helpful. xoxo

By Leigh 06.03.2011 – 5:47 pm


National Stationery Show (Part 1)

The Biz

Though I have been back from the Stationery Show for a good couple of weeks now, I have not had time to do much talking about it! This year marked our 8th year in business and our 7th NSS (I took a year off for my wedding). We had to get a slightly larger booth this year, and moved at the last minute, which is always a little nerve-wrecking but landed in a really good spot (right behind American Greetings!) and right out in the open with some great neighbors.

We tried a new booth set up this year, trying to keep it fresh and also trying to make the experience as fun and easy as possible for our customers. We set up the "bar" (people kept asking us what we were serving!) so that folks could come on in, take a load off and go through a "deck". Jury is still out as to whether or not this helped sales, but for Molly and I, who set up the booth, it was a much easier and more beautiful arrangement.

Some years everything goes your way, some years nothing does. This year was right in between. Our crate was actually there when we arrived and in one piece (this has not been the case in years past!) but we had no carpet and something got lost in translation on the color of our walls...they were supposed to be pink, and looked more coral. When investigating the carpet situation, we found out that they were 'out' of the red carpet we had ordered. Out?? Ok, we will roll with it... what have you got? "Grey." ooooookaaaay. Grey it is. SO, with the very real possibility of having a Halloweeny tradeshow booth at hand, I dragged poor Molly about 20 city blocks to the fashion district in New York in search of the fabric that would "tie it all together". Two hours or so later, we found it. I did some quick math in my head (not my strong suit, as you know) and told the man that I needed 6 yards...which was EXACTLY what he had left on the bolt. Phew. With a little craftiness and a little velcro we made our bar a little skirt and brightened up our mis-matched booth just in time to start the show in working order.

Here are some photos of how it all turned out!


By Leigh 06.02.2011 – 9:24 am

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