The Creative Connection Event!

The Biz and Shop Girl Says

Hello!!!! Oh my how I've missed this little place in the world and hearing from all of you lovelies! I do not, however, regret taking a really lovely vacation with my really lovely husband. I needed it, he needed it...we needed it, and according to my credit card statement, the state of California needed it too! sheeesh! Pennies well spent in my opinion though.

I am getting caught up and getting in the saddle of my fall schedule. I would like to personally lobby for there to be an additional week added to each month. In fact, while we are at it, let's go ahead and add a couple hours to each day too. Can that be arranged? Somebody out there has to be that well-connected!  (I have a suspicion that her name starts with an 'M' and ends with an 'artha Stewart' ...)

Time crunch aside, one of my all-time favorite event weekends of the year is RIGHT around the corner and I wanted to give it one last pitch. If there is any possibility at all of you joining me there, please do! You will not be sorry! The Creative Connection Event is held in St. Paul, Minnesota, Sept. 15-17th 2011. The list of incredible presenters, teachers, panelists (including yours truly) and sponsors is simply too long and amazing to list here, but take a gander at their website to get the gist.

(see me geeking out last year when I met The Pioneer Woman!?)

No matter what facet of creativity and/or business you are involved or interested in, there is something for you here. The connecting and networking alone would be worth it, but there is so much fun to be had! Incredible and beautifully curated meals and presenters, fun fun fun classes (I made some insane jewelry last year!) a marketplace where you can find all sorts of treasures (including Curly Girl products) and tons more! This year there is a whole food component too for all of you foodies out there (ahem, I may or may not be taking a cheese making class.... right!?)! I mean, I could go on, but the table-decor alone last year was worth the trip (not to mention the swag!)! Do not pass go, do not make other plans. Sign up today if you can!!

Also, if you are local or looking for a way to budget, they are still looking for volunteers!! (Those interested should get in touch with Lacy Young:

If you are going to be there let me know!!


By Leigh 08.30.2011 – 2:46 pm


image: unknown (sorry!)

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

Food Rx:

Hi All! Lacy Here!

If there's one thing I've learned from my college days of baking and eating funfetti cake (no disrespect to Ms. Betty Crocker) for breakfast, lunch and dinner it is that food has tremendous power.  If ever there was a Rx for happy it's through amazing life giving foods.  
I'm delighted to bring you a few tips that you can take right to your lips.

1. Are you sitting down?  Ready?!  Fat is your friend.  Omega-3 fats are household names now-a-days but are you getting enough of them?  They are essential to brain health and have been linked to improve depression! Flaxseeds, salmon and walnuts are your friends!   

2. Eat at regular intervals to keep your blood sugar level.  Level blood sugar means you stay perky and those you love get to keep their heads.

3. Get complicated... go for complex carbs like grains and veggies.  Complex carbohydrates provide a consistent mental state and keeps you happily fuller longer.  Spoonful of nut butter anyone?

There you go, three little tips to keep you in the land of bliss and healthy benefits!

Here's to your health!

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

By Admin 08.09.2011 – 9:39 am


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

A Saucy little Tart

Photos and The Dish

I may have said this before, but I LOVE SUMMER. Love it. Every triple-digit, tank-top-tan, hot-leather-seats moment of it. Say it with me: I LOOOOOOOVE SUMMER!!!! I think that over ten years of New England winters made my love for it way stronger than it ever was before, growing up in the hot and humid mid-west. Don't get me wrong, I love other seasons fact, you will probably hear me profess my undying love for them at some point too, but right now, summer is center stage and I am appreciating every extra sunny hour of it.

As you might have guessed, food plays a large part in my love for summer (let's face it, it plays a large part in my love for most things...). The availability of fresh delicious produce is high on my quality-of-life-meter and summer produces a bounty of goodness...some of it right in our own backyards! Now, this will be old-hat for those of you in California or some equally lovely place where you grow your own everything and dine outside year round, but humor me for a moment as I revel.

A few weekends ago I spent some time in Syracuse at my Aunt's house. My cousin was tending to a family friend's house/cat/gardens while she was on vacation and I went with her one of the afternoons. Right smack dab in her backyard was a cluster of raspberry bushes and to my delight, we were allowed to pick them! We brought home two good-sized bags full of bright red, ripe (some over-ripe and squishy), deliciously sweet raspberries...what's a girl to do!? Obviously one must bake.

I threw together this gloriously simple tart that really just maximizes the flavor of the berries and showcases their brilliant color. I used a store bought crust, because in my opinion it is just not worth the time to make your own. It's summer. It's hot. Don't go rolling out stuff if you don't have to. Most often a store bought crust does just as well, unless there are special additions to the crust like vanilla, or graham or lemon. The magic-jam that I used as the filling is something that Nigella Lawson taught me in her book "How to be a Domestic Goddess". I love her. The rest is just nature's bounty - a little vanilla ice cream never hurts either.

Quick Backyard Raspberry Tart

You will Need:

3 cups fresh raspberries

Zest of one lemon

1 store-bought piecrust

1 cup sugar


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Press the piecrust into a shallow tart pan (a pie pan works fine too, you will just have a thinner crust) and crimp the edges. Pierce with a fork several times and cook for 20 minutes or until just slightly browned. Let cool.

Simultaneously, in two separate oven-safe bowls, or pie pans (I used the disposable kind) put sugar into one and 1 cup of raspberries in the other. Put them in the oven for 25 minutes.

Pull the sugar and raspberries out of the oven and slowly pour the hot sugar onto the hot raspberries. Mix lightly with a fork and watch the magic happen! Let cool slightly, then pour jam into the cooled piecrust. Sprinkle jam layer with lemon zest.

Pile the remaining raspberries on top of the jam saving your most intact and whole ones for the top so it looks nice. Let cool. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.


What is your favorite summer food recipe?


By Leigh 08.02.2011 – 12:33 pm

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