A little magic

Style File and Inspired

Hello and Happy Valentine's Day to you! I hope you are loving yourself and treating those you love to something a little extra special today. I, for one am in the right business to be on team Valentine's day, but even if you roll your eyes at the thought, you have to admit there is something a little bit magic about everyone going a tiny bit out of their way in the heart of winter to let you know they think you're swell.

I think YOU are swell and to prove it I am going to share a little treasure with you. 

Sticks and Stones is a new line of beautiful handcrafted tiny magic things created by my friend and design wunderkind Sarah Foelske. Sarah has worked professionally as a graphic designer since we both left University of Kansas, ahem, some years ago and chances are, you've seen a billboard or a magazine spread that she has been part of. 

Growing up in Boulder, CO, "a little bit hippie", Sarah believes in the healing power of crystals, smudge sticks and spirit animals, but as a world class designer could never get her head right on how these things are packaged. So she set out to change that and to teach us a little about what the Shamans know. 

Sarah has created little energetically aligned collections of talismans, stones, crystals and smudge sticks with hand painted feathers and hand-dipped leather pouches that speak to a little of what we need in our lives. Making a little bit of magic a little more accessible... and pretty to look at too!

The new mamma in me has her eye on "The Protector", but naturally I am drawn to "The Creator" as well... I guess we are never just one thing. 

I found these so lovely and fresh that I just had to share them with you. I hope you love them, and if you do, Sarah has been kind enough to offer you a special coupon code for free shipping (S&S is based in Canada) just enter CURLYGIRLLOVE at checkout. Shipping may take a couple of weeks.

Would love to know what you think! Which one would you choose?


By Leigh 02.14.2014 – 2:57 pm


A room for adventure - Nursery styleboard

Style File and Sketchbook and Inspired

1.)Swinging Stripes Curtains ~ Anthropologie

2.)Baby Giraffe Pring ~ The Animal Print Shop

3.)Pom Pom Pillow and Tassel Pillow Case ~ Anthropologie

4.)Pom Pom Throw ~ Marmalade

5.)Jenny Lind Crib ~ Diapers.com

6.)Stuffed Walrus ~ Cate & Levi

7.)Gold Zebra ~ Near & Deer

8.& 11.) (oops!) Canvas Bushel Basket ~ Steel Canvas Company : Use coupon code CURLY on their site for 10% off of your order!

9.)White Leather Pouf ~ (similar) Land of Nod

10.)Circus Letters ~ Saddle Shoe Signs: Use coupon code CURLY15 on their site for 15% off your order of custom letters!

12.) Thomas Paul Elephant Pillow ~ Houzz

13.) Kaleidescope Rug ~ PBTeen

14.) "Parades" Art Block ~ Curly Girl Design

15.) Flea market dresser that I painted ~ similar here

16.) Knobs ~ Anthropologie

Hello! I figured as it is my first real day back to work, and our first day with our new Nanny I would distract myself from the over-thinking that is inevitable by finally sharing Ruby & Graham's nursery with you! Leaving my babies with someone new for the first time (even though I am working from upstairs right now...ahem, baby steps) is making me not just a little bit sad. It is also not just a little bit wonderful. 

It's both things. I loved being home with my babies every day, but I have been itching to get back to work, bursting with creativity and facing a to-do list for this year that is miles long. Baby steps. Man, that should have been my phrase for the year. 

But speaking of babies... I loved putting this room together for my littles. It is a pretty small room and when we found out we were not having one but two I had to make the most of every square inch. Every little space is an opportunity for storage. Being in a renovated attic space also gave us sloped ceilings and knee-walls which, made decorating with art a challenge. With a girl and a boy, who will share this room until they are 35 (what?) I had to go gender neutral, but that of course does not mean that it has to be yellow or green! Heavens!

I opted for a bright color palete on a very neutral backdrop. I wanted a space that spoke to the adventure I want for them, and the places in the world I hope to see with them. I wanted it to seem eclectic and magical and full of critter friends. That was a tall order for a little room, but I think we did all right.

My mom helped me make, or DIY a bunch of things for this room, we Craigslisted the dresser and repaired and painted it, painted stripes on baskets from Marshalls, made IKEA media cabinets into window seats, sewed crib skirts and made and framed artwork. But I also had so much fun treasure hunting and found some things I am excited to share with you. Some of the makers of these things have even been so nice as to make a special coupon code just for you! So make sure you hop on over to their sites and check them out!

I would love to know what you think!

By Leigh 02.04.2014 – 3:40 pm


Passion Project

journal and Sweetheart Sponsors and Inspired

I believe in balance. Hard core. I believe that if you start to unravel any issue you are dealing with big or small, balance will be right there waiting for you among the possible solutions. I believe what goes around comes around, both in a real-life-everyday way and in a great-big-cosmic-soul-level way. 

That is why in so many ways I am thrilled to get to share this with you. It is just so deliciously apropos I can hardly stand it! 

I would like to introduce you to my dear friend and one of our Sweetheart Sponsors, Mariam Gates.

It is quite possible that without Mariam, Curly Girl Design would not exist. 

I'm not kidding. 

The short version: Mariam was my boss a million years ago at her Boston yoga studio, and when I showed her some 'postcard art' I was making for my friends she satisfyingly gasped and asked if I would make some for the bathrooms at the studio. I obliged, and soon after people began asking to buy prints and soon after that I had a fabulous (pre-Etsy) little cash business on the side. 

I was happy as a clam working at the studio, selling prints to yogis out of my car and flirting with this handsome guy that kept showing up on my shifts (who would become my husband). One day Mariam pulled me aside and said (and I paraphrase...because it was more than 10 years ago, and I cannot remember my own name at the moment): "What are you doing here?" 

I thought I was in trouble. 

"You need to be doing this." (blank stare) "Like, really really doing this. " "Like, full time. This is your thing."

"But I don't want to." I said.

"But you need to." She said.

Then she politely and lovingly fired me. 

That was the beginning of me putting everything I had into Curly Girl and several starving artist-esque years later, it would start to really work. And I would start to believe she was right.

This was all before Etsy and Kickstarter and Zazzle and Moo and all this other cool stuff that helps us put the incredible stuff we are doing out there into the world. This was at the beginning of blogs and when the internet was still a baby...back when we had to walk uphill both ways... 

Mariam, who is among many things a ground-breaking and inspired kids yoga teacher with her Masters of Education from Harvard, is working on a passion project. This is her "thing".

I have been lucky enough to see "Goodnight Yoga" grow from an exercize taught in her kids yoga classes to a poem, to a full-blown beautiful book and teaching tool. I am so excited to be part of putting this book into the world, and I LOVE that Mariam has decided to make this a community project by launching her self-publishing effort on Kickstarter. 

Take a look and share it with those whom you think might want to be part of something like this. Teaching balance to our kids (and ourselves) and the inherent balance of many hands lifting something up is such an incredible thing! What a perfect combination. 

Along with the opportunity to help a friend who helped me give what I have to the world, give what she has to the world, I just love this book and the mission of this book and the kids that it will help (including hopefully mine someday soon!) and I wanted to share it with all of you. 

Thanks for checking it out!

To support this project, just click through on the video (the little K in the top left corner) or follow this link


By Leigh 10.25.2013 – 11:15 am


Photo from "A League of Their Own" Courtesy of Sony

Opening Day Inspiration


Today is opening day at Fenway Park. It is going to be 66 degrees and sunny and I think it is fair to say that spring has officially arrived! Thank all that is good and holy!

I love baseball. I am not a rabid fan of any one team (though, the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are my 'home teams' and have my heart and I will root hardest for them. In the case of inter-league play (and several recent World Series,) I go with who is winning...useful strategy.

I think it is everything surrounding baseball that I really like.

The accessories, if you will.

I like hot dogs (only at the ball park) and beer and open-air play. The uniforms are classic (though a getting a little baggy if you ask me...) it's family friendly and the game is distinctly American. Oh, and summer is a fine thing to have in your back pocket if you are looking for fans. But I think the thing I like the most about it, is that despite the outrageous budget discrepancies between teams and all of that front-office malarkey, it can always surprise you.

A player can, at any moment have the game of his life, pitch a no-hitter, take it to extra innings with a well-placed grounder, or land in a slump the size of his team's Yankee-sized budget. No matter how much money is spent, there is still room for a little magic. And sometimes, sticking it out until the 9th inning... really pays off.

I found this poem, written about local Boston baseball hero Ted Williams and thought that it would be a great way to celebrate the beginning of the season, and also remind all of us to keep our eyes on the ball.


The Ted Williams Villanelle by Wendy Cope
"Don't let anybody mess with your swing."
- Ted Williams, baseball player

Watch the ball and do your thing.
This is the moment. Here's your chance.
Don't let anybody mess with your swing.

Its time to shine. You're in the ring.
Step forward, adopt a winning stance,
Watch the ball and do your thing,

And while the ball is taking wing,
Run without a backward glance.
Don't let anybody mess with your swing.

Don't let envious bastards bring
You down. Ignore the sneers, the can'ts.
watch the ball and do your thing.

Sing out, if you want to sing.
Jump up, when you long to dance.
Don't let anybody mess with your swing.

Enjoy your talents. Have your fling.
The seasons change. The years advance.
Watch the ball and do your thing,
And don't let anybody mess with your swing.



By Leigh 04.08.2013 – 1:32 pm


January 2013 Sneak Peek #2


Happy Friday to you! I wanted to share another addition to the January 2013 release.

When I was in college, the design program I was in was really intense. It was a rigorous first year and a half of 'bootcamp' like basics classes that all led up to a 'review' process. The 'review' was a jury of your teachers and the A&D faculty who took a look at your 3 semesters of work and decided whether or not you should be allowed to continue in the program. Like, at all. It is a very stressful and nerve wrecking time. You put your work up, wait all day (some of us may have done some, ahem, 'liquid' waiting...)and then go back in to decide your fate. The day I went into mine, I will never forget. When they told me that I didn't pass, it was as if the whole world had stopped. I had worked so hard, and so long, and at the time, felt like this was the one thing I was good at. I was devastated. Crushed. Lost. I ran all the way back to my dorm room in the snow and just cried in the dark.

My college sweetheart, who was and is one of the best men I know, got wind of my terrible news. He ran from his apartment to my dorm room (there is a lot of running in this story...it was Kansas...it was big, and we didn't have cars...) he opened the door to my room, saw me curled up in a ball and not knowing what else to do just came over and with his whole body, laid right on top of me. Not in an inappropriate way, but in an all-encompassing way. A protective way, He wanted to just soak up all of what was hurting me and take it away.

That move has stayed with me for the rest of my life. At the time, though I appreciated it, and needed it, it seemed odd to me. Throughout the course of my life since then, I have grown to understand that feeling. The feeling of wanting so badly to take away all of what is hurting someone you love, that you just want to cover them like a blanket. Sometimes there are not words to describe that want, only an act.

Sadly, It is often not appropriate to lay on top of your friends and loved ones, so I have tried to encompass that feeling in this card. I know it falls short, but hopefully not by too much.

This one is for the moments when there is just nothing more to say. All you can do is be there for your people when they need you and let them know that you are there. This goes out to a few of my own people who have gone through/are going through things that I wish they didn't have to. My heart is with your heart.


P.S. I did eventually get into and finish the Vis. Com. Program at KU. It was hard to get into and hard to get out of, but I did it. I'd like to think they'd be proud.....with the appropriate amount of chagrin. ;)

By Leigh 11.30.2012 – 10:32 am


CGD Instagram Scavenger Hunt: “Orange”, “Yellow” and Challenge #4!

Photos and Inspired

Hello there! Sorry to have left you for so long. I had to pop out to attend the National Stationery Show last week (you know, work...) and the long days on the show floor and the distraction of being in NYC did not lend themselves to my getting any blog posts done. And what a shame!!! I have these beautiful color collections to share with you from our Instagram Scavenger Hunt!! If you are just joining us on the hunt, WELCOME! Please start with this newest challenge, Challenge #4 (above).

In this challenge we are gettin' graphic. It should be amazing! We all love pattern, and we come across it everyday. I want you to find patterns that make you squeal just a little bit, and want to cover every available surface with them. Snap a shot and tag it. I can't wait to see what they look like all together! Also, I want you to find words. You can find them anywhere, on a building, on a sign, in a book, on a tattoo...whatever, but try to focus on a single word and make it as large a part of your photo as you can. I want to see what kind of poetry we can create here. (I told you I was gonna be specific!!) Finally, find some numbers...my preference was architectural, but any cool looking numbers will do!! I just want to see what you see! 

Speaking of what you see, you all see in full color!!

Look at how fabulous they all look together! I love how different they are and how many ways we found to capture my favorite color.
Yellow is fabulous too:

Thank you to those of you who are participating (with gusto!), it is really fun to see who is out there! If you are thinking about jumping in but haven't yet, please do!! Getting as many different perspectives as possible is what this is all about.

I am in studio this week (big deadlines!) but I will be posting the rest of the color challenge results later this week (so if you want to sneak one in under the wire..now is your chance!) as well as filling you in on the Stationery Show, and a couple of other fun things!!

Happy Wednesday to you!


By Leigh 05.30.2012 – 10:12 am


CGD Instagram Scavenger Hunt: “Magic” and “Delicious”

Photos and Inspired

I am back from a mini-break to California to celebrate my birthday with Coach. It was fabulous, fun-filled and much-needed time together. I am grateful for all of that. I am getting packed up for the Stationery Show, but wanted to show you the gorgeous results of the Curly Girl Instagram Scavenger Hunt Challenge #2. These are getting better and better! Wait until you see the colors from Challenge #3!! You guys are so clever!

I will post the final challenges this week ....get ready to search for some really specific things (now that I have you warmed up!) it's gonna be great! If you are new to the hunt, welcome!! If you know someone who should be doing this with us...for goodness sakes! Tell them!! Here is the original info. The more the merrier!!

Thank you to those that are participating! Your photos are really wonderful and I am loving the collections! Especially DELICIOUS! I love photos of food. I love food, just in general...

ok, have a fabulous weekend! Let me know what you think!!


By Leigh 05.18.2012 – 12:34 pm


CGD Instagram Scavenger Hunt: “Sparkle”

Photos and Inspired

Here are the "sparkle" results from the Curly Girl Design Instagram Scavenger Hunt Challenge #2!. I will be posting "Magic" and "Delicious" over the next couple of days. Challenge #3 is going on right now and it is a colorful one! Please join us!!

Thank you all for the birthday wishes! It was a fabulous one!


By Leigh 05.11.2012 – 8:09 pm

1 Comment

This is ‘inspire’ & Curly Girl Instagram Challenge #3

Photos and Inspired

Hello! Here is Challenge #3 for the scavenger hunt! I have been loving how all the photos look together and think these should be especially breathtaking! Go out there and find some color!! (This will not be hard for all of you... you are the colorful sort) Thank you all for participating in this! It is really swell to see all of the different interpretations of things and how we see the world collected into one place. If you are just joining us, you can get the jist of what we are doing here and welcome along!!

A few notes:

•Photos MUST be your own

•Photos MUST be Instagram photos

Also, I encourage you, if you can, to take the photos for the purpose of this hunt... part of what is special about this is that you go out into the world looking for these things and I think that has an effect on the way you see them. It's like that Proust quote:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

Anyhow, I would love to hear what you think of the project thus far!

Here is how we see the word "inspire":

Isn't it magnificent!? I particularly love the mussel shell in the sand from @ncampos1 and the box of fun from @droozstudio! Great compositions! We take inspiration from so many things, but this really showed me how good we are at inspiring ourselves! To see everyone's descriptions of their photos or comments about them search: #cgdscavenger_inspire on Instagram.

What are your favorites? Weigh in!


By Leigh 05.08.2012 – 8:50 am


This is ‘inspiring’

Photos and Inspired

Happy Monday! I hope this collection of our Curly Girl Scavenger Hunt images for "Inspiring" gets your week of to a fabulous start! I am loving this project more and more! You guys are finding some awesome stuff and I love seeing these words through other people's eyes!

You can join us on Challenge #2 here if you hurry and Challenge #3 will go up tomorrow! Will you help spread the word about this? The more the merrier!

To see everyone's comments and descriptions of their images search #cgdscavenger_inspiring on Instagram.

Couple of notes: You must only enter your own photos for this. It's doesn't feel right to bring in other people's work wIthout them knowing. Also, I cannot get access to the photos if they are not public or if I am not following you, so if you want me to include your private photo, email it to: info@curlygirldesign.com.

Happy Hunting!!

By Leigh 05.07.2012 – 11:22 am


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