An Ethnical Dilemma ~ Style Board

Style File

Hello pigeons! I have spent the weekend giving my good friend from Kansas City a little tour of Boston. It was filled with lots of coffee, good food (of course), some art, some flea marketing and naturally, some shopping! It was a real treat and I feel lucky to have such great friends and live in such a fun city.

As you might imagine, I have been beside myself with this year's trend towards tribal. The patterns, colors, prints and geographic wonderfulness of it all has me a little bit beside myself. I love anything that errs on the side of ethnic and everywhere you look these days you can be treated to a little bit of it. I have taken the liberty of compiling some of my favorite finds for you. I hope it starts your week off with a little wanderlust!


1.) Illume Boho Jar Candles - Marmalade (call:617-484-0093): This new line from Illume is just breathtaking. The patterned jars, the fancy lids and the exotic scents are a perfect storm for a little tribal touch to your decor. Bonus: once your candle is done, how cute would this container be to keep your Q-tips?

2.)Beaded Earrings by AV Max - Cusp: A glorious combination of seed beads and sparkle these fancies will bring light and color to any boring old thing.

3.)Lulu Toluca Print Tunic - Calypso: It's no secret that I love a tunic. In fact, I fully intend to grow old wearing nothing but tunics, caftans and muumuus. You're welcome, honey! This one is just so festive and Mexicali that I just might show up with margaritas, guacamole and bare feet to work tomorrow.

4.)Rupert Sanderson 'Kibo' Wedge - FarFetch: If I had to own only one pair of shoes for the rest of my life, I would want it to be these. (and it would kind of have to...I have expensive taste!) I cannot find a single flaw in this swoony combination of color, pattern, shape and practicality. If only my shoe habit was sponsored....

5.)Rosanna Sammi 'Monsoon' Bangle Set - Cusp: These thread-wrapped bangles will bring a little ethnic to any outfit! I love the colors and the tiny little sparkle of gold thread!

6.)iPhone Case by Sandra Diekmann - Society6: Tribal patterns do not have to be limited to fashion! What better place to pop one than on your technology tether? It's with you all the time anyway right?

7.)Geometric Straw Pouch - Loft: I found this little beauty recently and have finally switched my wallet over to something a little my friends say: "well-loved". It is the perfect size to use as a clutch or shove all your essentials in as a wallet in your larger bag. I had trouble locating it online when I went back for another, but check your local store...they usually have more than the site.

8.)Native Tassel Scarf - Topshop: A bold scarf is such a great and easy way to bring something trendy into your wardrobe without all the commitment. This gorgeous Lurex scarf is such a perfect addition to a tee and crops or a denim shirt. Big on boho, little on the price tag.

9.)Tribal Beaded Bangle - Forever21: OH how I love a chunky bangle! Add a bold pattern and make it under $10 and you've got yourself a must. This black and white version is all of the above.

10.)Pom Burst Tote - Anthropologie: Is it just me or is a neon accent just the thing? This raffia tote is so summery and chic, with just the right amount of "Oh this? I picked it up in Africa...". I might have to go on your next adventure with you!

11.)Cynthia Vincent Platform Wedges - Nieman Marcus: Remember before when I said I would only need one pair of shoes for the rest of my life? Well, I could be talked into two....

12.)Vintage Hilltribe Davenport Ottoman - John Robshaw: I am pretty sure that Mr. John Robshaw is my long lost twin or soul mate or something of the star-crossed variety, because every single time I see something from his line, I get all goose-bumpy and my heart beats a little faster. This Ottoman is no exception. Yes please. Thank you.

What are your favorites? Does this rock your gypsy soul??


By Leigh 04.30.2012 – 11:58 am


Photos © 2012 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Lime Chili Chicken Soup - for a chilly spring day

The Dish

We had a cold and rainy start to the week here in New England, which reminded us for a moment that it is not, in fact, summer yet (though the recent weather patterns had us lulled into thinking so...). Besides crawling back in bed with a stack of magazines and a hot cup of coffee, my other instinct is to make soup.

While I will eat soup of all kinds at all points in the year, many of us crave lighter things as the days get longer so this soup, my version of chicken tortilla soup, is both light, and alarmingly easy to make. It is perfect on it's own or served with tortilla chips, (I like a tiny dollop of sour cream and some Cholula's hot sauce) and is wonderful re-heated.

Chili Lime Chicken Soup:

You will need:

2 tbs. olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped (I stick mine in the food processor and really let it have it... it ends up more part of the broth than chunks)

Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken (yes, all of it), or roughly 4 chicken breasts cooked and chopped small

3 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce

7 cups chicken broth

Juice of 2 fresh limes

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper

Avocado (1/4 or 1/2 per person)

Serves 6


1.) In a large saucepan, on medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until it begins to brown. (5-7mins)

2.) Add the cooked chicken and stir in until well incorporated.

3.) Stir in the chopped chilies and adobo sauce and let cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 mins.

4.) Add the chicken broth, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 mins.

5.) Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6.) When serving, slice a portion of avocado into cubes and put in bowl, ladle soup over it, top with tortilla chips or sour cream or whatever makes your heart sing.


Yum! I hope you enjoy this!

A reminder:

I will be in Wayne, PA at the Blue Horse Boutique on Saturday May 5th for a signing and a little fun! If you are in the Philadelphia area, I would LOVE to see you! Stop by and say hello and enter to win a canvas (yes! they are giving one away!!) For more info check out their website.

Let me know if you are planning on coming!



By Leigh 04.24.2012 – 8:53 am


Sponsor Spotlight: Susabelle Boutique

Sweetheart Sponsors

Hi Guys! Happy Friday! I am SO excited to introduce you to one of our newest Sweetheart Sponsors, Susabelle Boutique. Christine Willard is not only a long-time Curly Girl fan, she is also one of our fine customers! She has put together a gorgeous web-based retail experience and has a mission to support American artisans. Her well-trained eye and loads of retail experience are on display at her beautiful e-boutique and isn't that lucky for us! Be sure to check out her site, and "Like" her shop on Facebook for a fabulous Curly Girl Give Away!

I asked Christine to tell me a little bit more about what she and her shop are about and here is what she said: is a lifestyle e-boutique with a twist:  all of the product on our site is made in the USA. 

After owning a brick and mortar store for ten years, I wanted to come back to retail, but this time, it was time to “start something that matters”; there are a million websites out there, so,  I wanted this one to be one that stands out by helping others.  It’s my chance to help bring America back—even if this is my small way,  it’s still very important to me. I want to make buying made in the USA “tantalizingly chic”.  It’s become my mission!

The site is a spin-off of what I had created in my brick and mortar store.  Most of my inspiration for my creative process comes from my buying trips and travels.  I have always had a knack for picking up on trends—especially the next “what’s hot” or the next color trend.  When I am buying, I always try to put myself in my customer's shoes: “would this be something I would spend my hard earned money on?”

My work is unique in that I have managed to bring together an entire boutique—one that you would love to frequent on a regular basis—of products that are all made in the US. There was discussion on major networks that intimated that made in the USA was just too hard to find.  I took that as a challenge; after ten years of going to markets around the country, I knew it was out there; someone just had to make it all readily accessible.  I think that more folks would buy products made in the USA if they were more accessible.

Interestingly, I started my career in nursing! After a wonderful, long career with Johnson and Johnson, I let my creative side be expressed through my award-winning brick and mortar store, La Belle Maison.  After just under ten years as a brick and mortar store, a series of unfortunate events and circumstances led to its closing.  In very short order, I decided to move the store online.  But, as I mentioned, I wanted it to be more than just a store for my personal gain.  I wanted it to be something that was more about “economical consciousness” rather than just being another store.  Just think, even if we can create 5, 10, or 20 jobs by increasing business for American manufacturers, wouldn’t that be worth it?

Please check out our blog on for more insight from our first blog entry.

Please take a minute to check out the fabulous stuff Susabelle's is doing! Check out the shop and stop by their Facebook Page , and mention this post for an exciting Curly Girl Give Away!!

Thanks for supporting those that support this blog!!



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: to learn more.

By Leigh 04.20.2012 – 11:57 am



Sidebar and Inspired

I found this on Pinterest and it struck a chord. Hope you are having a good day!


By Leigh 04.19.2012 – 10:42 am


Photos © 2012 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

The Darling Buds of May


Technically, this year the darling buds are of April (or in some cases, late March!) because it has been so warm, but they do not rhyme with "day" and April has too many syllables.

I spend as much time as I can outside, in the woods, or in the garden or at the seaside. It's where I do my best thinking and breathing and get the most perspective.

Sidebar: It is also, it turns out (of late) where I see the most, ahem, intimacy. Is it me or are the local wildlife being less discreet than usual? I mean, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits...the neighbor's cat! It's like an 'extra' channel on cable around here! Geez!


I love being outside in the springtime and seeing everything creep back into life. Sometimes, because we are so busy, or because some of us live in more extreme climates, spring can seem to "pop". Like one day it's winter, and WHAM! It's spring! But that's not really how it goes. Tiny bits at a time the fresh green pokes it's way out of the ground or off the branch, the flowers on the trees are first fuzzy pods and then tiny cups before they are full flowers. Every growth has a thousand tiny steps.

Nature approaches cautiously and takes its time. I have had the benefit of observing that practicality this year as I walk each morning. Practical, but not nervous, or shrinking. There is also a confidence there. Sure, it may freeze again and we've certainly had snow on Mother's Day before, but the blooms come anyway and are not less bright. Nature does not keep score, or shrink nervously from past failures. Last year's long winter, or a harsh spring freeze that squashed its buds years back. No, Nature enters with enthusiasm...coming into the same bright life each year, with no less gusto even though it has done this same thing year after year. It does not shuffle in or act ho-hum. Nature shows up. With bells on. Again and again.

It is with this reflection, and on this date (well into this new year) that I have finally figured out my 'word of the year': AGAIN.

I am going to practice the art of "again". I am going to enter with enthusiasm. Dust off my gusto, and keep at it. I am going to do this again and again because I love it. Because it's worth doing and because it makes me feel alive and meaningful.

I plan to apply the above mantra to various parts of my life, but I think you get the drift. I am going to show up, not because I never have before, but because I will always have a new bud, or sprig to nurture and because sometimes 'again' is what counts.

As I wrote the title of this entry I was prompted to reread one of my favorite Sonnets by Shakespeare (I studied Shakespeare at length, and have many works that are close to my heart, but this one was admittedly made a favorite by "Dead Poet's Society", swoon.):

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


I have long considered this a romantic conversation. From a lover to a lover. But reading it now, I would like to lobby for its consideration as a letter to yourself. Your spirit. Your SELF. With gusto.


PS. These photos are from Instagram...I am newly obsessed (and yes, late to the game...about a billion dollars and you can find me at: curlygirl510

By Leigh 04.18.2012 – 9:08 am

1 Comment

Photos © 2012 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Happy Birthday Big Marmalade!

Photos and The Biz and Brick & Mortar

One year ago Sunday (April Fool's Day, naturally) we opened our shop, Marmalade, in our town center. A bigger and more beautiful location with lots of foot traffic and parking (yes!) has made our presence officially known as a fabulous retail destination in the suburbs of Boston. It was a big risk, a lot of work, a lot more work than that, and frankly, contributed to one of the hardest financial and organizational years Curly Girl has had to go through. But at the year mark, things are looking really good. The community has embraced us whole-heartedly, we are winning awards and getting the kind of press I always thought we deserved.

We are story-telling, community-building and creating an world for Curly Girl to live in that exists beyond the work we do in the offices, or online, or on paper. We have more work to do still, and growth is a moving target but I am really pleased in this moment with what we have done. I put this thought, this intention, this vision out into the world, and the world around me, the people around me and the community around me made it real. It's real and it's bright and shiny, just like I thought it would be. Happy Birthday Marmalade!

We have come a long way...

You can read a little about the beginnings here and here and see photos of our opening week here and here.

Saturday we threw ourselves a little party inspired by Marie Antoinette and piled the sugary treats high! We popped prosecco and put on our party dresses and treated our customers to a storewide sale.

The place was packed with customers (which is always good!) and balloons! Coach even helped bartend! (how cute is he?). The marmalade girls were in full effect and everyone's spirits were high!

It really put a cherry on top of an excellent first year and I couldn't be more grateful to all whose energy and time and love and support went into making this year a success! In particular: Lauren, Emily, all the marm girls, Ethan, Coach and our friends at Glutenous Minimus for all the delicious sweets when we need them! Also, to the Curly Girl staff (esp. Molly) for holding down the fort while we did all of this. Thank you all for making my vision a reality...and continuing to.


By Leigh 04.04.2012 – 12:55 pm

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