Glorious Green - Style Board

Style File

I have waited long enough to pay homage to another of my favorite hues. This madness mustn't continue a moment longer! A good solid bold and bright green is just about divinity. Somewhere in the neighborhood of kelly and emerald but not so far as sage or chartreuse (though I also love chartreuse, just not to wear) lies a universally flattering color that draws just the right kind of attention without looking leprechaun-ish.

This is the color that made Scarlett O'Hara look like an heiress and rescued the Von Trapp Family children from the malaise of grey wool uniforms. It is also such a pleasant surprise in home decor and everyday objects...they look endlessly happier for being green.

Here are some of my current favorite examples:

1.) You can never go wrong stepping out in an emerald slipper! These "About the Benjamins" by Poetic License are a must from ModCloth

2.) How is it that Diane Von Furstenberg can do no wrong?! This dress is perfection for any season. At Net-a-Porter.

3.) This Diana Mini Camera is a tiny plastic bundle of fun! Using real 35mm film (i know!) and tons of special effects you can kick it old school and end up with some great photo art. The fact that it is the perfect shade of green is really just icing on the cake! At ModCloth

4.) Speaking of the Von Trapps...this gorgeous pillow from labdesigns on Etsy will have you playing guitar in your living room in no time!

5.) I. Mean. Seriously. Be still my vintage-bike loving heart. In my mind, I am strapping this to the back of my Mini Cooper and heading to that villa in Spain. Holy Cow! Kate Spade at Adeline Adeline

6.) I cannot think of a single thing that this gorgeous bangle wouldn't make better. Not one. single. thing. Talisas Enamel Bangle at Fantasy Jewelry

7.) This gingham shirt will be just as cute paired with a pencil skirt as it will with your favorite jeans and wellies. Cissus Button Up at Anthropologie

8.) David Aubrey had me at hello with these fancy-pants earrings that benefit from being both green and sparkly! Win Win. At Anthropologie

9.) I had the pleasure of meeting the girls from LuluBelles at The Creative Connection this year. I was dazzled by the jewels they were wearing each time I saw them, but when I checked out their site, I knew there was no way I was getting out of there with out seven or eight new baubles. This 'Green With Envy' necklace is no exception!

So those are my favorites at the moment! Do you know of anything I missed? Do Tell!

xoxo

By Leigh 09.30.2011 – 12:54 pm

5 Comments

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

Indian Summer Picnic Food

The Dish

It is about to be October, a glorious month full of some fall days, some summer days, some baseball (unless you are a Red Sox fan..booo...I get to play both leagues though, being a native St.Louisan...Go Cards!) some football, some sweaters, some t-shirts. It is the best of both worlds! To me, it's also picnic season!

Some of you may know that I have a stadium blanket problem collection (I will share that with you another day), and what better way to use a few (er, several) vintage plaid blankets than to have a picnic!? If you are lucky enough to live in or visit Boston in the month of October then you have no excuse but to have an elaborate picnic on the banks of the Charles River while the university crews row by. It is my personal version of heaven. 

Nostalgia and travel-bullying aside, this Green Goddess Potato Salad is my new picnic favorite. I made it a bunch this summer and it was the thing people asked for the recipe for the most. I found it in the Blackberry Farm Cookbook, which has become one of my go-tos. My other personal version of heaven would be to take up permanent residence at Blackberry Farm. Me and my stadium blankets would fit right in there.

I did not alter the recipe much, except that I tried it with both fingerling potatoes and red bliss. I found the flavor to be much better with the red bliss, but the presentation much more impressive with the fingerlings. It will have to come down to priorities.

I also left out the radishes after the first time. I found them decorative, and the salad is just plain beautiful by itself.

Green Goddess Potato Salad

You will need:

6 Cups fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

1 Tbs. Kosher Salt

3/4 C. Fresh Spinach Leaves

1/4 C. Fresh Tarragon Leaves

1/4 C. Fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 C. Fresh Flat Parsley Leaves

1/4 C. Champagne Vinegar (if you don't have this, use rice vinegar and a splash of sparkling wine...you should always have that on hand!)

5 Scallions (green parts and a little white), Chopped

1 C. Organic Mayonnaise

1.5 Tsp Salt, more to taste

8 Small Radishes (optional), Trimmed and sliced

------------------------------------------

1.) After potatoes have been quartered, put them in a pot and add enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Add Kosher Salt and bring to a boil. When it has reached a boil, turn off heat and let sit until tender (about 10 min). Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl (you will want extra room). Refrigerate until cool.

2.) In a food processor (this is a must), Combine spinach, tarragon, basil, parsley and vinegar and puree until smooth. Add in scallions and process until smooth. Scrape mixture into a medium bowl and whisk in mayo and salt. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

3.) Toss the cooled potatoes with the cooled dressing and garnish with fresh radishes. Take to picnic and enjoy!

 

There you go! Hope you love it!

xoxo


 

By Leigh 09.29.2011 – 10:05 am

1 Comment

The Creative Connection Event 2011: review

Photos and journal and Inspired

A couple of weeks ago I spend a few days in St. Paul, MN to attend the second-annual Creative Connection Event. This spectacular event is put on by my good friend Jo Packham and her incredible team. For three days, it brings together creative women, entrepreneurs, bloggers, foodies, authors and mavens of all manner of things from all over the world so that we might connect and explore and create and go back out into the world stronger and more inspired. It is an event unlike anything else.

I am still reeling a bit from all the visiting with old friends, hanging with my mom, eating, drinking, staying up late (then getting up early), connecting, chatting and crafting! I actually have not even unpacked my suitcase. I know!

I wanted to share some of what I did and some photos so that if for some reason you didn't believe me that it was gonna be good, you might now and get ready to sign up for next year's event!!

My mom flew up from St. Louis to attend with me, so in addition to getting to meet up with my creative peeps from all over the place, I got to spend some QT with my momma! But speaking of all over the place some of my friend-highlights were seeing Kelly Rae (Portland, OR) and spending lots of good time together, Lacy was there from Cali and Lizzy (Boston) as part of the staff, Michelle came from Portland and April from Detroit. I got a chance to hang out with some of the girls I went to Morocco with last year. Holly was there from Germany as one of the keynote speakers and Leslie and Julie  came from Canada to teach classes. I also met and fell totally in love with Beth from the UK!  It was a regular international smorgasbord of fabulous friends!

I was honored to be asked to speak on a few of the panels during the event.

Each one made me think hard about the road I had traveled and the one still in front of me and for a second, I got to stand still and throw my arms out a little and be exactly where I was. Each woman that spoke, spoke to me in some way, and I will say that during the VIP Women Entrepreneur's panel on Saturday morning, I have not felt the presence of so much good energy and strength and power as I did sitting up on that stage with Karen, Melody, Janine, Kelly Rae and Susan!! It was like the creative Justice League of America! I heard inspiring stories from Stacy Julian (who is my new BFF), Holly Becker, Christine Farrare and Becky Higgins and met so so many others.

This is a weekend for that little voice inside of you.

My voice wanted to get its craft on! So I signed up for Leslie Shewring's washi tape design class and my mom and Emily and I had an absolute blast covering just about anything we could get our paws on with washi tapes!

Leslie's style is so laid back and naturally creative that our time flew by and we had so many gorgeous paper treasures to take with us. It did start at 8am so we may look a touch tired...

We also set up a little Curly Girl Design booth in the handmade marketplace and sold our wares. The handmade marketplace was filled with colorful booths full of gorgeous things to take home! I managed to get my hands on several pieces from Whippy Cake and fell madly in love with the work of Little Big Pants and Sarah Jane Studios. While we were there we met Drew, "The Crochet Dude" who was dapper, hilarious, and quite crafty. He sat with us in the Simplicity booth and taught us how to make 'bloom looms" which we are now obsessed with!!

This was fun in perfect 15 minute increments and endlessly satisfying. We loved it so much, Emily and I will be teaching a 'bloom loom bonanza' workshop at Marmalade next week! If you are in the area sign up!

So there you have it! Thanks to all who worked so very hard for so many months to put this event on! It is absolute bright spot on my calendar and I can't wait until next year!

Were you there? What did you love? What would you have changed? What do you want for next year!? I would love to hear!

xoxo

By Leigh 09.26.2011 – 3:33 pm

9 Comments

2012 Sneak Peek #3!

Sketchbook

Good Morning! (and hello fall!? what the heck!?) I finished this one up yesterday and I think it turned out really cute. This is a little nod to my Midwestern upbringing. Though, I very much now believe in the value of a proper analyst in one's life, I was sort of raised to believe that (as my Mom would say) "that's why you have girlfriends."  I firmly believe that for some levels of therapy friends are just the thing. Now, that doesn't mean you should go around unloading on your friends all the time but a good couple hours with a trusted friend or a kindred spirit, just to reassure you that you are not the only one who has ever felt a certain way, is valuable soul food. I happen to take my soul food with cream and a little sugar

I would love to know what you think!

xoxo

By Leigh 09.20.2011 – 8:06 am

16 Comments

Curly Girl original works, as cared for by Leigh Standley

Something Original

journal

I have just come back from the most wonderful conference and want to tell you all about it! In fact, you will probably be sick of hearing me talk about it by the time it's all said and done. But right now I need to muster the energy to stand upright for more than 20 minutes at a time. I am beat!

So, I spent this past weekend speaking to creatives and working artists about how to run small businesses (or not run them in certain cases) and how to take themselves seriously as businesswomen and entrepreneurs. It was such a wonderful and inspiring group of people! I wished I could bottle it.

I came home to a tiny art deadline, one more thing to finish up before I start on something else, and I went to look for a piece that I had done awhile back. I realized, as I was rifling through a cigar box looking for the piece of original artwork, that I was rifling through a cigar box. Yep. You heard that right.

I keep my original pieces, quite literally my life's work, in a cigar box (not sure what it says about me that my life's work could fit in a cigar box, I am a little relieved that it's overflowing...) not even one of those big ones that you could make a purse out of! A regular sized, nothing-fancy cigar box.

Now, I never want to take myself too seriously, and certainly, my work is preserved digitally (and hopefully in the hearts and minds of many), but after this weekend, this suddenly stood out to me as an example. An example of what falls through the cracks when we are busy building something. Often, that thing is ourselves, or more specifically, the level of importance we allot ourselves. This was a tiny example of me not valuing myself somewhere along the way. Of not taking care of something, that if I'm honest, would break my heart if it was lost or destroyed. This was me not taking myself seriously enough.

So, I am going to take my own advice. I am going to start the process of archiving these babies, someday, they will hang in the halls of something...even if it's just my house.

xoxo

By Leigh 09.19.2011 – 1:42 pm

7 Comments

2012 Sneak Peek!

Sketchbook

So, the good news is I am making progress on my deadlines and getting work done on time (small victories!), the bad news is that this could be my new favorite and it won't be available until (gulp,) January. Booooo.

Either way, I wanted to share. This one goes out to my good friend and co-hort in all things baked (and half-baked), my friend L.C. It's about finding the right balance, right ingredients, right temperature and sometimes, just taking the right kind of time.

Oh, and butter. It's also about butter.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

By Leigh 09.13.2011 – 5:38 pm

19 Comments

A little weekend re-do.

Sketchbook

Hi All! I have been in the studio for the last week or so working on a few projects and some new work, and a couple of re-designs of older pieces. While this piece is not all that old (relatively speaking) something about the artwork on the original never sat quite right with me.

 

There was a certain sassiness missing that I thought this little lady deserved. She is having her cake and eating it too after all! Heck! She probably even baked it!

She needed some sass STAT. So here is the new version...I think it does her justice. What do you think?

 

xoxo

By Leigh 09.12.2011 – 8:42 pm

15 Comments

image from: singingintherain.tumblr.com

Prayers for Peace

journal

Today I will be saying 2,983 prayers for peace. For those I knew, for those I didn't know and for the countless hearts and lives that were forever changed by the violent and hateful events of 9/11. I will also pray for peace and understanding for us as a nation and as a people, that as we pause to remember these souls and these lives that we honor them by learning to come together in peaceful ways, to grow and develop our nation in ways that support one another and that we are not governed by fear but dedicate ourselves to efforts of understanding and learning. That we teach our children to lift one another up, not break each other down and that we grow together and honor the lost by living that change.

I will also say a prayer of gratitude. For this man:

Who was born today 41 years ago. Whom I met because I was laid off after my company lost too many clients due to 9/11 and he was laid off from the travel industry for similar reasons.

He inspires me everyday to do things I thought I could not do, to be the best version of myself and to (as he likes to say) "live the shit out of this day!". My life is forever changed for the better because he is in it.

Happy Birthday Coach!!

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you today.

xoxo

By Leigh 09.11.2011 – 11:13 am

2 Comments

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

Looking for Love

journal

I have recently begun the rather painstaking process of looking on the bright side.

Now, those of you who know me, or have read this blog long enough to know a fair amount about me, might gasp a little or think I am joking. I am generally a pretty glass-half-full kind of person...and that is most certainly the glass that I show the world, but in reality, I realized recently that I have been coming up short in the benefit-of-the-doubt department. More specifically, I have been a little light on love.

This year so far has brought a lot of busyness, a little turmoil, a bunch of stress, a heap of challenge, a few quiet victories and some great projects. Along with some really fun and exciting things, which makes it not unlike most other years for me recently. The thing I started to notice lately is that it was getting to me more. I have a shorter fuse, less tolerance for things I am uninterested in or don't have time for. I was saying (or at least thinking) 'no' first. I felt tired and defensive a little, and have even been carrying this lack of love around on my person as about 17 extra pounds. SEVENTEEN.

When I first started meditating on what was going on with me, and realized that it was a lack of a vital nutrient (love...Vitamin L) I assumed that it was because I was not getting enough of it from others. I thought, it was because I was so far away from my family and best girl friends, or because Coach and I have been so so busy in our lives that we didn't spend enough quality time together, or because relationships and friendships change, and that's just life. I felt shorted. I even felt owed.

Then I opened my freezer.

It was a particularly hot week in Boston, and I was obsessed with making ice cream. You may have read something about that. I opened my freezer to get the basin for the ice cream maker and the cold air felt so good. I, by some instinct, blew air into the ice cube tray to feel a cold blast on my face and it hit me. The cold blast, and the realization that you get back what you put in. Not in theory, but in real and direct proportion.

In our lives, like in our freezers there is only so much molecular space. When I blew my warm air into the freezer it had to get rid of some cold air. I realized then that I was short on love because I was not putting it out there. I was not acting with love, or listening with love or even providing it for myself.  Essentially, I needed to go blow into some freezers.

This was a nice revelation, but I needed to warm up a bit. I needed to remind myself of my core belief that everything you need, you have. Essentially, you will find it, if you are looking for it. (sort of like trouble...) If I wanted to see the love and be able to activate those molecules, I had to be looking for it. So I began the practice of looking for love.

As you may have suspected, it is in fact, everywhere! I took these photos on my recent vacation as sort of an inside joke with myself. It became kind of like buying a car. You know when you are looking at or researching buying a specific vehicle and suddenly that is ALL you see on the road? It has become kind of like that! Only with love and kindness. I see it everywhere! But, I am looking for it...

So, this is a fresh journey for me. I am still working on it. Seeing love is often easier than acting with it or even more difficult, reacting with it, especially when we are stressed in any way. But it is a good start and a much more pleasant molecular point of view. 

Wish me luck!

xoxo

By Leigh 09.08.2011 – 8:36 am

19 Comments

The Practice of Silliness

journal

I am sure you have all experienced this at some point or another. You have certain 'understandings' about life, certain things you know to be true. These are wisdoms or lessons or practices that you have acquired over your years and you try hard to embody them. Until you don't.

It's not that you mean to, or that their concept has somehow escaped you...you have just forgotten. A momentary lapse of otherwise perfectly useful life-experience.

This happened to me with silliness. Not silliness as a concept, silliness as a verb. I learned a long time ago that the best way to keep yourself balanced and your worry, doubt, ego and a vast variety of other life-sucking things in check is to inject a little silliness. When we were kids, my mom would go to some lengths to get a rise out of us. One year on April Fools Day she filled our cereal bowls with dog food and set the table just like normal. Then there was the time she put a 7" gummy cherry-flavored rat in my school lunch. For Valentine's Day. It's in my blood.

Sometimes though, force is necessary. In college, my roommate Traci and I would find ourselves grumpy or stressed, and would start to fake-laugh. Like, over-the-top, goofy and different than our own laughs and right out loud. In no time flat we would be laughing our own laughs so hard we didn't need the fake ones. Try it... it's well, hilarious.

It turns out this has been a value of mine for some time. I try not to make a habit of quoting myself, but I made this piece 9 years ago (it's still in the line today) for my good friend Molly, who so perfectly embodies this concept,

and I firmly subscribed to it. Life through Groucho Marx-colored glasses. But recently, as my life has gotten bigger and more complicated (and by turns better and more stressful), I have stopped remembering to employ it. I worried for a second that I had forgotten how. That I had hung up my fake nose and mustache.

But then, last night, some good friends reminded me. I showed up to a dinner pretty stressed and kinda grumpy, which I kindly disclosed. Without missing a beat my friend offered (with a straight face) to put her sports bra on backward for me. "I will even run around a little if you think it will help." I was laughing to tears at the thought. Admit it, you are too. We spent the evening telling funny stories from college and making fun of ourselves and I forgot about every last nugget of stress.

Turns out I have surrounded myself with silliness. I am so certain of its value, that I have taken extra measures to ensure that it is in my life without even realizing it. I married Coach because he makes me laugh (among many other fine qualities); I have surrounded myself with intelligent and silly people that will go to great lengths for a little laughter. I have incorporated it into the structure of my life through them. Cutting-up is a very useful life skill and I have made sure I have built-in reminders of that in the event that my own silly parachute does not deploy.

So a big thank you to all that know the value of a laugh and a wiggle of the eyebrows to those who know what I am talking about.

I would love to hear about your "finest" silliness moment...how far have you gone for a laugh? Do tell!

xoxo

By Leigh 09.01.2011 – 12:04 pm

11 Comments
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