photos by Snap Photography

My favorite day.

Photos and journal

Three years ago today was my favorite day of all time.

After months and months of planning and designing (before Pinterest, I might add...) and trying to make as many people happy as possible, and after 6 years of dating and living together and trying it all on for size, and after a blustery morning Cape Cod wind and rain storm, they sky opened up, the sun came out and I got to marry my person.

It was the best party I have ever been to and ever thrown. I loved every last moment and still remember not being able to sleep that night we were so hopped up and chatty.

It was a magical day.

In the interest of keeping things real, I will tell you that marriage, has not been magical. It has been really friggin' hard.

I know that sounds harsh, and people don't really say that too often, particularly people who write fairly positive and upbeat greeting cards. But it's true. It is the most challenging thing I have ever done, and the most challenging thing we have ever done together. There has been lots and lots of good, and lots to celebrate, but if I am being very honest, I would say, mostly hard.

But as hard as marriage has been, the easiest thing I have ever done is decide to marry him. To choose him. That was a cinch. And we continue to choose eachother every single day, and it continues to be the simplest decision I make and the one that brings me the most joy. We are, day by day, inch by inch, making eachother better people, supporting the people we want to be and accomplishing that together. It is a lot of work, but I can't think of anyone I would rather do it with.

Happy Anniversary Coach! I love you and I love who we are becoming.

xoxo

By Leigh 07.24.2012 – 11:44 am

30 Comments

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

A few of my favorite things - Atlanta

A Few of My Favorite Things and Photos and Gypsy Soul and Brick & Mortar

Well hello there! Just thought I would pop in and say hello before you head out to a beautiful summer weekend! I am back from a week at the Atlanta Gift Show and heading out to the first annual Curly Girl Design Pool Party! (sorry, there will be no photographic evidence of this fun event...I love my staff and respect their rights to be lovely and freely in their skivvies without me lurking around with a camera). Now, if only the sun would come out!

Because we spend so much time on the road at tradeshows (2-3 weeks a year each in Atlanta and New York alone!) we try to get out and about and do things while we are there... over time we develop favorites and spots that we return to time after time. This last trip was no different, in fact, I had our dinner reservations all mapped out before we set foot on the plane! Surprised? I didn't think so. Recently we have discovered a few gems that I thought I would share.

Cacao, Virginia Highlands

This is not a place we went for dinner, but we stumbled upon it while poking around one of our favorite neighborhoods: Virginia Highlands. We were drawn in by the rich smell of chocolate and the sparkly confections and were lulled into a swoon by the beautiful interior and the perfect packaging of the most delicious delicacies we had ever laid eyes on. It was like walking into Paris and being greeted by the "Candy Man" scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory...."Who can make the sunriiiiiisse...." (only sung in french by Gene Kelley instead of that other guy....ok you get the drift).

The darling girl working behind the counter explained to us that they were a local-to-Atlanta bean to bar company focused on hand-crafted chocolates with the hightest quality sustainable ingredients.

And then I ate the head off of a buddha. A dark chocolate creme ginger buddha. I nearly cried it was so good.

Everything about this place was lovely. We boxed up some buddhas for the road and promised to return.

If you go: Stay awhile. Sit with a cup of their Azteca Aphrodesiac Drinking Chocolate and pretend you are in the movies.

Be neighborly: Don't miss Bella Cucina's flagship store and sandwich shop, Porta Via, right nextdoor!

Sun in My Belly, Kirkwood (Decatur Area)

This is an honest-to-goodness "a friend of a friend of a friend told me about this place..." recommendation. (The best kind - thanks Margo!)

A tiny bit off the beaten path, but not but 5 miles out of downtown, this is an absolute gem. Packed to the gills with hand-made decorations and farm to table amazingness, you will not leave here hungry or uninspired.

Sun in My Belly (best name ever right?) began as a catering company specializing in "unique dining affairs" featuring real, good food. They opened their neighborhood cafe (in an old hardware store!) for brunch and take-away at first and were just opening up for dinner when we went for the first time. We have been back twice now and will be back again! Every single thing on the menu looks delicious and everything we have tried has been. Make a reservation (or heck, have a party there...they do special events!) and prepare to enjoy!
 

If you go: They always have a few dazzling options on the dessert menu, but do yourself a favor and ask if they have coconut cream pie. You won't be sorry.

Be neighborly: There is not much in the way of neighbors where they are, but you can BYOB if you want (they now have a wine list also) and if it's nice...sit outside under the twinkle lights!

So, there you go, those are my current Atlanta faves...though there are more! Hope you enjoy and let me know if you get to one!

xoxo

By Leigh 07.20.2012 – 9:36 am

2 Comments

New Product Sneak Peek 2!!

The Biz and Sketchbook

Greetings from Atlanta!! I have a few seconds to catch up and wanted to share another new product release with you! These showed up at our showroom just in time for the show and are WAAAAAAY CUTE! Sets of recipe cards are such a lovely gift, and I can't wait to make my neighbors holiday bread and write them a little love note and the recipe on these!!

What will you use them for? Favorite recipes you want to share??

xoxo

By Leigh 07.12.2012 – 10:26 am

4 Comments

New Product Sneak Peek!

The Biz and Sketchbook

What is awesome? The fact that I am writing this post from 30,000 feet (thank you Delta!). What is not awesome? That the man that is sitting in front of me in my lap, is a former professional athelete rendering my 'table' useless and forcing me to use T-rex arms to write this. Sigh. The things I go through.

I am suffering through all of this to share a sneak peek at one of our latest product launches!

I would like to introduce you to the first edition of Curly Girl Design Nifty Gifty Label Sets!! These packs of labels will come with 4 sheets (all the same...there are three different styles available), of 7 of the most ridiculously cute stickers you have ever had the pleasure of decorating with! Use them for gifts, or letters or packages sent by post....we can think of a million things to do with them (ok, a MILLION might be pushing it...but a lot) and can't wait to see what you guys come up with! (We should have these ready to ship by August...for those of you who plan ahead...)

What do you think? How will you use them?

xoxo

By Leigh 07.10.2012 – 8:04 am

17 Comments

Summer release sneak peek 4

Sketchbook

Hello! Here is the final July release! Phew! Just under the wire...I leave for the Atlanta Gift Show tomorrow and these should be ready to ship by 8/1 (or so...) probably the most uncomfortable turn-around in Curly Girl history (thank you Emily!). This is the final card release, but there are a couple of new product surprises that I intend to show you this week...as soon as I get my bags packed, get my game-face on and get my booty to Hot-lanta to dazzle up the showroom.

When I thought about what brings me and my close friends together and what we enjoy doing together I thought of many things. We are all pretty adventurous, like to stay active, we travel together and try new things. My girls are up for anything from workshops to dorky touristy things. We shop and eat and drink and talk and talk and talk.

When I was envisioning these things that we do together, somehow the little mental scenarios always ended up over a glass of something and a plate full of snacks that involved cheese. We love cheese. Like, really. love. cheese. In fact, the more I think about my life and friendships and cheese's role in them, I think we may have underestimated cheese as a unifying force in the universe.

Think about it.

My deepest sympathies go out to all of the lactose intolerant. I hope your friendships have not suffered.

All hail cheese!

xoxo

By Leigh 07.09.2012 – 8:29 am

11 Comments

Summer release sneak peek 3

Sketchbook

Thank you ALL for your wonderful feedback on the "Teacher/Educator" card!! I loved hearing your reasons and enthusiasm on the subject! The overwhelming support was for "Teacher" as I suspected, and I have to say, I agree. First thought, best thought I guess. I agree that many different kinds of people in our lives are teachers and that 'educator' has a more formal tone to it. So, "teacher" will go to print! Thanks for your help!

Here is the latest (very very late) addition to the 2012 summer release and I have to admit to being kind of in love with her.

"Adventure" is a common theme with me, but in this case I wanted to speak to the adventure that lies within choice. Now, I don't promote recklessness (though, it is sometimes necessary) and certainly support responsibility in decision-making, but here I am making a case for the not-safe choice. Not the unsafe choice, that's different.

The 'not-safe' choice is the opposite of the choice that you make because you know exactly what will happen and how it will all play out, and even though it might not make your heart sing, it does not involve any risk. Risk is the scary part.

Risk is where the growth happens.

Now, that does not mean that you should bop around taking risky chances willy nilly. Heck, this is from someone who cannot watch scary movies and gets hives during that show where people catch Catfish with their bare hands. (but, c'mon! That seems unnecessary!) But every now and again you will come upon a decision you have to make or a moment where you have to choose, and every now and again you will get that feeling in your stomach and the decision will be extra hard because it has a twinkle in it. That twinkle is the promise of something that awaits you...and it's usually your LIFE.

This one is for the seekers.

xoxo

By Leigh 07.05.2012 – 6:52 pm

11 Comments

Sneak Peek and a little help!

Sketchbook

Hello! Happy almost 4th of July!! I just finished this new card and am in a bit of a dilemma...

You know how you practice your Oscar speech right? You think of all the people you need to thank, the ones that helped get you to where you are today and without whom you couldn't have made it. In my speech, after the obligatory "I...I...tap tap tap...is this thing on?...", I roll through my greatest hits list of teachers. Being a product of public education, and being related by blood to mainly educators, it would hardly feel right to stand up there in my (ahem) vintage Valentino gown and not thank some of the talented and hard working folks who, recognizing talent and greatness early on, wisely plucked me from the ranks....ok, I am getting carried away. You get the gist. 

I had many fabulous teachers during my 13-year stint in the Kirkwood R7 Public School District. Mrs. Vaugier in third grade who let me dress up as Cruela Deville for "storybook" day, Mrs. Longnecker in eight grade who taught me how to keep a journal, Mr. Holley freshman year who brought in music to teach us history lessons, and Mrs. Vignery in AP English who taught us to jitterbug while we were reading The Great Gatsby. These things had a lasting impression and I think of them often, and certainly appreciate them more now than I ever did then.

But for all of the good teachers that taught this (mediocre) student, there are 3 who stand out. Three who really made me feel like I had a special talent and was meant to do things. Mr.Dean, my high school art teacher, who taught me as much about being brave as he did about putting together a portfolio. Mr. Stephens, my director in the drama department, who helped me see myself as an entirely more valuable thing, and who despite some of his flaws, taught me more about life and art in his drama classes than any I would take in college. And finally, (I guess you guys are getting the speech... is the music playing yet?) our principal, Mr. McCallie who was one of the most talented and impactful educators I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He knew all of us by name (there were nearly 2000 kids in our school) and knew where you were supposed to be. He showed up for us and ran a tight ship. He somehow kept an eye on me and has been a wonderful support to me to this day. These people made me feel smart, and talented and capable. They were up in my business and knew when I wasn't where I was supposed to be or if I could do better. They were tough on me and helped me fly.

So, here's my problem. Not all who make a great impact are 'teachers' by title. Mr. McCallie was my principal, an educator, but not technically, my teacher. I want this to be for those that impact our lives in this capacity, but I don't want to limit it. I also really think teachers need as many shout outs as they can get.... and I like the word. It feels good.

I have made two versions of this card, and I want you to help me choose which one goes to print! Weigh-in in the comments section of this post and I will make a decision this week.

TEACHER? or EDUCATOR?  what do you think?

xoxo

By Leigh 07.03.2012 – 8:47 pm

85 Comments

Summer release sneak peek 1

Sketchbook

Good morning!! I hope you are all waking up this Monday morning a little groggy from the fabulous weekend at the beach that you had, or the long summer evenings being outside with friends. It was a splendid weekend here in Boston, and though I was in studio for most of it, I did poke my head out now and then. There was something 'slow' in the air this weekend, maybe so many people are on vacation or it's just so warm that they are outside well into the night, but it was the first time I noticed time feeling long in a good while. I remember summer nights feeling like this when I was a kid, but adulthood has quickly removed any stretch available in time.

I was grateful for this feeling, and so I made you this.

This is in honor of the tiny 'nows' that are available to us all the time and the bundle of little things that make up the big things that we want. This is in honor of the moments that we grab a hold of those nows and let them root and grow and become something better in ourselves. This is in honor of you.

xoxo

By Leigh 07.02.2012 – 7:49 am

7 Comments
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