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!


By Leigh 07.20.2012 – 9:36 am


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


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

We (heart) Valentine’s Day!

Photos and The Biz and Brick & Mortar

Good Monday to you all! It is the day before Valentine's Day and do you know who your sweethearts are?? I love this day because it is an on-the-calendar excuse to write love notes. Now, though I encourage sending love notes all year round, I am not opposed to  a little annual nudge. I think that the ability to tell people how you feel about them is right up there with opposable thumbs and free will on the list of great things about being at our end of the food chain (as you might have guessed given my profession) and here is a whole day to do it!! Yahoo!

This, I realize can cause some anxiety for some folks, so at our shop, Marmalade, we do our best to help. Here are some peeks at what the shop looks like this season!

Lauren, our shop manager, got her hot little hands on the window display this month while I was at market. This was a big leap for me, because I am kind of a visual control freak when it comes to the shop displays and windows, but I was at market, and it had to be delegated. Check out this adorable scene:

We got in these hilariously cute sock animals and Lauren made them the "Valentine's Day Decorating Committee". She made it look like these little critters were decorating the window and getting into all sorts of mischief in the process. It could not be cuter or more "Marmalade". Great job Lauren!! It brings a smile to everyone who passes by!

That's what's going on in the shop at the moment. Also, we had a cute little write up in a local rag. Despite the poor grammar-check, it is a cute piece about the greeting card industry and my place in it.

Love to know what you think!! Do love V-day?? Not love it? Why?


By Leigh 02.13.2012 – 12:34 pm


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

A little do - over.

The Biz and She's Crafty and Brick & Mortar

A while back I found these little darlings at a flea market. They were tired and weary too, but as it happens, not worn out. The pair of office chairs (there are two of the same) were relics from the 80's, circa when everything was covered in carpet. They were covered in a bland, itchy and pretty tired industrial fabric an though had a great, super comfortable shape, and an awesome steel rolling base, were just this side of  "Working Girl" and were headed for a life of office chair glass ceilings.

The little foot stool was just too cute to pass up with its cute feet and all-but-free price tag. I knew these guys had one good do-over left in them.

Several yards of fabric, a good bit of work (by someone far more skilled than myself) and a couple car trips later:

Voila!! These handsome devils are ready to take on some serious (or not so serious) office work or homework, or a few good hall -races if they find their way to a free-wheeling home! They currently sit in the Thanksgiving window at Marmalade but are hopeful to find a new home soon!! I just love them and thought I would share!!


By Leigh 11.21.2011 – 11:28 am


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

Halloween at Marmalade

Photos and Brick & Mortar

So the girls and I have been busy at the shop getting it all 'spooked' up and ready for October and one of our favorite work-days of the year: Halloween!! This year, we are in the town center so will hopefully get loads of little ghosts and goblins looking for treats! Here is some of the fun, sparkly stuff that is going on in our little brick & mortar.

We are also in full swing with our crafty class schedule here at the shop. Next up is "pumpkin arting" in a couple of weeks... there will be glitter involved...check it out if you can!!

What are you doing to get ready? Any favorite Halloweeny things??


By Leigh 10.05.2011 – 4:59 pm


Spring Signings!

The Biz and Brick & Mortar

Hello!! Happy Thursday! After my couple of days off early in the week (Monday was a holiday here in Boston..."Patriot's Day" aka "Marathon Monday") I feel much more robust! I took some time to get to the 'rest' and though, I now don't know what day it is (long weekends always throw me off), I feel much more connected.

This spring I have gotten the opportunity to do a couple of signings at a couple of shops that carry Curly Girl Design products. I do a handful of these events a year at some of our most established, long-term customer's brick and mortar shops. Small businesses with big hearts that are really connected to our product and by way of that help to connect their customers to what it is we are doing over here at Curly Girl. It is my favorite part of my job and I really cherish the time and energy that I get to spend and exchange with these shop owners, their staff, and all of the wonderful Curly Girl fans that come out and chat. It makes the world seem really small and full of wonderful people. I feel so proud to be one of the tiny things that connects all of these folks and their experiences... and wish, somehow that they could all meet each other! What a force that would be!!

So far this spring I have been to Portland, OR and Columbus, OH and am headed to Appleton, WI at the beginning of June. I will share some photos of the events and then some shop tours of these adorable places over the next few days. I love seeing how other shopkeepers display their product and all the wonderful creativity and cleverness that comes with setting up a gem of a shop. It is worth going out of your way to visit these places, not only will you get a warm smile and a friendly 'hello', but you will find special things that have been lovingly chosen to make your day better, or your gift-giving easier. If you see them, thank them for doing what they do!

Do you have a favorite spot like this?? Tell us about it!


By Leigh 04.21.2011 – 10:36 am


“Big” Marmalade Photos (Continued)

Photos and Brick & Mortar

Oh my goodness! What a whirlwind! Opening weekend was a success (and a complete blur at this point) and we couldn't be happier or feel more proud and blessed. Thanks to all for the support and well wishes and love notes! We hope to keep this little shop filled with all the good ju-ju we can wrangle up.

For those in the area, or planning to be in the area Marmalade is located at:

63 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA 02478

There was some confusion as Googlemaps has our old address and I have not figured out how to fix that. I will find someone under 25 to help me. Sigh.

Anyhow, enjoy some more photos...I am back in the studio today to finish a couple things up.


By Leigh 04.04.2011 – 9:22 am


‘Big’ Marmalade Photos

Photos and Brick & Mortar

Well, we made it!! Opening day went off without a hitch yesterday (snow and all!). The shop is ship-shape, bright and sparkly and open for business!! We had so much fun meeting our neighbors (thanks for the flowers, beer and balloons guys!! ) and new and former customers and showing them around. Thanks all for coming out! Here are a couple of photos...more later...


By Leigh 04.02.2011 – 8:53 am


Shop Tour - Coco & Toulouse, Portland

Brick & Mortar

I'm not sure if it is the shop owner in me, or the time in my life or the fact that I feel like more and more or cities and towns are starting to look exactly the same. But I have become obsessed with unique, beautiful and well-crafted retail and dining experiences.

Main Streets and neighborhood shops have increasingly given way to the big box chains or have been forced to close in such a tough economy. Uniqueness is harder and harder to come by. This, of course, is an I'm-getting-older-and-things-just-aren't-the-same-as-they-were-when-I-was-a-kid rant even if it is largely true. Things are changing, as they must. But I crave something different.

The good news is that there are an increasing number of people and towns and small business owners trying hard to slow homogenization. To swing it back. To pepper the increasingly predictable landscape with sparks of uniqueness. In this fragile economy we have seen a tiny shift. People are digging back in to their communities. Shopping local. Creating beautiful, delicious, unique things right where they live. Some, have been doing it all along. Some have been doing it since before it was cool.

Jo Ellen Newton has been in the business a long time. She has seen it's ups and downs and through it all has managed to create a delightful, inspired and completely beautiful specialty retail experience in her shop Coco & Toulouse in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, OR. Now in it's new location (next to her equally lovely clothing boutique Coco Gets Dressed) It is an absolute vision in pink...and turquoise...and chartreuse.....never one to be accused of lack of character, this sparkly shop is full of everything you need to fancy things up a bit. From French perfume, to yards of silk ribbons to beautiful cards and gifts (yes, Curly Girl too!) you will find everything you need and surely something you didn't know you needed!

Make a day of it and stop by to say hello to Jo Ellen and her lovely lovely shops. While you are there, thank her for being a sparkle on the landscape!

View more photos of her shop here. (some in this set are from her previous location)

Do you have a favorite unique shop, cafe or restaurant that is bringing local back??! Share it! Shout it from the rooftops! Shoot! I am on a mission here!


By Leigh 03.22.2011 – 9:54 am


Photos © 2010Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Shop Tour - Watson Kennedy, Seattle

Brick & Mortar

Back to the journey. While I was on my way to ArtFest 2010 last March enjoying the day to myself in Seattle I stumbled across, make that nearly tripped over Watson Kennedy right outside my hotel door and boy am I glad I did!

Since opening Marmalade and being pretty much obsessed with the retail experience I am constantly on the lookout for inspiring independent retail shops. Curating a unique shopping experience is definitely an art form all it's own and I am always searching for places who do it well. So when I walked through the door to this treasure I had to contain myself a little.

With his genius mix of vintage and contemporary, proprietor Ted Kennedy Watson transports you to another place and time (and makes you lose all track of time!) in his delightfully stocked emporium. You suddenly wish you had a proper dressing table so you could display your assortment of fine perfumes while you brush your hair exactly 100 times and recite sonnets. Elizabeth Bennett eat your heart out!! You could also be in the most polished French flea market on earth searching for epic love letters and spools of vintage ribbon. Either would do really! Watson Kennedy now has three delightful locations in the Seattle area. Please find them if you are in the neighborhood!

Have any favorites to recommend?

By Leigh 11.10.2010 – 9:19 am


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