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Food for thought.

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Yesterday, while driving I heard a story on NPR that made me sit in my car well after I had arrived at my destination to finish it. I know you have done something like this. I see people sitting in their cars all the time, seeming distantly engaged in something, maybe laughing out loud or crying. I know the type. They are story people. When I reflect on it I am touched and feel more rooted in the notion that we have, as a species, always connected through stories, and likely always or no. We will find a way.

This particular story was a feature from The Moth Radio Hour and was an autobiographical story written by and read by Jen Lee. It was about many things, but among them transition, transformation, community and personal identity. The clarity of her voice and her humor lured me in, but the personal connection I felt to her journey and the wisdom of her experience made me sit in my car well after.

I could personally relate to Jen's story in a pretty literal way, but I think there is a way we can all relate.

You can listen to her story, "Targeted", here. It is worth 8 minutes of your time.

This past Sunday I watched Brené Brown's episode of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday (watch it if you can!) and though the whole thing resonated, something she said really hit home. She said: "Faith minus vulnerability and mystery equals extremism."

That rang my bell. And made me think of all my righteous moments, the moments when I am absolutely sure that I know what's good for everybody and how things should be done, ( I am a text-book Taurus) and I wondered where I set my vulnerability down. Jen Lee's story rang that same bell in a way that made me laugh. I am grateful for the lessons from these women today. And grateful that I am in this experience, not in charge of it.

I would love to know what you all think. I am sure there are some feelings out there...


By Leigh 03.20.2013 – 1:02 pm


Erato as found on YouTube

Perfect Harmony


Good morning! I am working on getting our _sparkle images up, but I wanted to share this with you. Melissa turned me onto this little gem a couple of days ago and I CANNOT GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD! I love perfect vocal harmony like ants love a picnic and this gave me goose bumps when I first heard it. I also love the use of cottage cheese containers... I mean, of course! Enjoy! And you're welcome, you will be singing this for days.


By Leigh 05.09.2012 – 8:02 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 © 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


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


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


An open letter to my conditioner…


Dear Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Conditioner,

I would like to take a moment to thank you for existing. You have become my one indispensible beauty aid, and I simply cannot bear to imagine my head of curls without you. I miss you between washes. Most days, when I have not used you, I wear a ponytail. Whether it is your actual talent, or my sheer, unwavering belief in your abilities to smooth frizz and provide shine without weighing my sometimes fine tresses down, I hold you in the highest regard and sing your praises to all who will listen. Whenever I get a compliment on my hair, I always give you the credit. I almost always have to check my luggage because of you, though one time I forgot and you were discovered in my carry on. I feared for the worst! Thankfully, the TSA officer was also a curly-haired conditioner fanatic. She let me through without trouble and a wink of solidarity. Though, I often wish you were not quite so expensive, I find that when compared to the emotional costs of looking like a young Tito Jackson (no offense to Mr. Jackson), you are more than worth it.

Also, thank you for being available in giant size.

Sincerely, and most enthusiastically yours,

Leigh Standley

By Leigh 05.26.2011 – 8:48 am


Important Discovery


I have made an important late-night cookie binge ground-breaking discovery!! Having had no Girl Scouts in my immediate circle for some time now, I had all but lost touch with the magical perfection that is the Thin Mint. Until tonight, when after a successful raid of Coach's Easter basket I discovered, and subsequently enjoyed the most perfectly delicious mimic of the perennial treasure I have ever enjoyed. I will not tell you how many I ate, but I will tell you that they are all natural, which sort of takes the edge off.

I found them at Whole Foods and here.

Just thought I would share!


By Leigh 04.25.2011 – 9:21 pm


Tip of the class


As part of my whirlwind trip of delight to Columbus, OH this past weekend the lovely Sarah, from Helen Winnemore's took me here for breakfast before my flight left. It was after ordering one of the most divine egg dishes I would ever have and gift wrapping enough colorful (and delicious) French Macarons to make me have to check my bags, that I spotted this sign at the cash register. (This was a non-table service establishment)

I will save you my soap-box on tipping in our current service culture, but rest assured that I have strong feelings about it. Also rest assured that I have accumulated enough personal experience in the service industry in my life to have earned my opinions. I will just say that this was the most refreshing, polished and completely appropriate thing I have seen in a very long time. It was (very tasty) food for thought.

I think service should be part of each of our cultures.


By Leigh 04.11.2011 – 5:04 pm


Video found via Huffington Post (and Tony's Facebook Page...thanks Tony!)

I mean seriously…


By Leigh 02.11.2011 – 10:41 am


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