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New Year. New Word.

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Happy happy New Year! I hope that it has been treating you well these first five days and you are feeling off to a good start! I have been enjoying a little mini-break from the computer as I gear up to come off of my maternity leave and go headlong into a new year at work.

This year will bring the totally new experience for me of being a working mom and a business-running mom. I have been thinking a lot about that as I decided on my word for this year. How do I want to handle that? What are my goals around that? Will I be able to pull it off? Am I prepared? Can you ever be prepared? What will have to be moved to create space for all of this? Mentally, physically, emotionally....spiritually? Where will the space come from?

I love love love my job. It truly is my first baby (don't tell Lucy) and I have worked so hard to build it and put so much on the line to maintain it, and frankly, have more than an handful of people whom I love dearly depending on me to keep making this work in a great way.

And as you might have assumed, I love love love love my babies. I want to be with them every moment (well, not EVERY... but almost) and they have already changed who I am in a profound way. I cannot wait to see how our lives unfold and who they become each day and at the same time want to stop time immediately and just hold them and hold them.

The good news is that I have worked for over 10 years to set up my life and my business in such a way that I can have an enviable amount of flexibility around work and being home with them, but the reality is, that the things that thrive, are the things that get your dedicated focus. Therein lies the pickle.
I am not the first, nor will I be the last woman to have this conversation with herself. To ask herself what is most important. Nor am I the first or last person to decide that "both" is the answer.

And so, I have chosen to "Steep" in it this year.

To steep, to soak in, to soak up, to make stronger by being immersed in or together with something. In other words, this is the bed that I have made, and I intend to lie in it.

I want to soak up every moment I can with my babies and my family and all of the creativity that that brings to my business. I want to sit still for a moment in my business and not do anything major this year, like move, or change warehouses or open up shop. That doesn't mean I don't want to grow or grow my business, that will happen anyway.  But I want to hunker down and do what I do best and get better at what I don't. I want to gather my rosebuds for a moment and get stronger for it. 

That's a whole lot of idioms to explain one point. I want to do less, in order to be more. 

So that is my word for the year. I can't wait to see what comes of it... the universe certainly took my 2013 word of the year quite literally...who knows where this one could land me.

What's your word this year? 

xo

By Leigh 01.06.2014 – 4:29 pm

6 Comments

An update from babyville

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It's 10:50 am on a Monday morning and we are all still in our pajamas. Truth be told, we are all still in bed. We being; me, Graham, Ruby and Lucy (poor Coach, has to go to work...) This is the way that several days in the week start out for my little tribe. And though it is counter to my nature in almost every way, I admit to sort of enjoying it. I think everyone is. 

Except for maybe Lucy, who is starting to get the drift that we are not going to the park...any time soon. 

It has been awhile since I have posted about the babies (unless you follow me on instagram, then, I am sure you have had your fill of baby photos. I am not sorry.) I thought I would pop in with a little update.

Life has become a bit of a whirlwind. I feel both overwhelmed by it and completely mesmerized. I am totally and madly in love with these two little people and feel humbled that they chose me to be their mom. I can't believe how profoundly magical they are (and profoundly exhausting) and how different they are from each other. I hardly think of them as twins, they are more like two random babies that happened to be dropped off at the same time. 

Coach and I have grown very aware and appreciative of the "village" it takes to pull this off and have had to ask for more help than we have ever asked for in our lives. I have the feeling that this is just the beginning. We are behind on everything, late for everything and have had to cry a little here and there because we miss how our life used to be. If I owe you a thank you note or a phone call...or a check...it will get there, promise. It has been a challenge to every routine we had and everything we thought we knew, but when we wake up in the morning to a gummy grin on the mug of one of these two littles, it all seems ok. 

The number of hours logged just holding and staring at babies is notable.

We are closing in on 12 weeks and they have already been a million different things. I can't believe how fast they grow and change! They went from being these tiny, breakable little things to robust, bright, shiny little people. Some more robust than others...Graham out-weighs Ruby by about 4 lbs.

He's a little tank. Inheriting my solid German/Irish build (and enthusiasm for eating) he is big and strong and makes his needs known. He is very chatty and seems a tiny bit serious and intense but is coming into a pretty smiley phase. He is very much a Mamma's boy and wants to be held or worn constantly. A total snuggle bunny, holding him has an incredible calming effect, I think my pulse actually slows.

Ruby is a little beautiful bird of a girl. After going completely bald (they both did) she has sprouted little dark brown monkey hair that makes her still blue eyes pop. She is a very content baby who smiles brightly and easily and is very happy to entertain herself. Her eyes sparkle when she laughs with you and she seems to know all the secrets of the universe. She is like the Morgan Freeman of babies.

This has all been quite an adventure, and has not been without its considerable challenges, but at the moment I am just so SO grateful that they are here, healthy, whole and making us so very happy. 

I would like to thank laundry detergent, coffee, spandex and the people who invented FaceTime for getting us through the first 3 months. 

I would also like to thank our neighbors and dear friends who have brought us food, babysat, helped with Lucy and ignored the fact that I am in my pajamas in public. Also, my life would not currently work without my Mom and the UPS guy. Not necessarily in that order. 

Hope your holiday seasons are off to a fabulous start! I have LOTS to share with here over the coming weeks, so hope to see you around!

xo

By Leigh 12.09.2013 – 11:35 am

16 Comments

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

xo

By Leigh 10.25.2013 – 11:15 am

8 Comments

Please Welcome…

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On September 21st, 2013 at 8:36 am (Graham, on the left) and 8:44am (Ruby) we welcomed two tiny, perfect beautiful new family members into the world, our hearts and our lives! The past four weeks have gone by so fast and with so much learning and feeling and experiencing that our heads are spinning. 

My labor and birth experience was intense and long and the hardest thing I have ever done, but after nearly 39 weeks of pregnancy, two solid days of induction, 15 hours of labor, 5 and a half hours of pushing, and several shifts of nurses and midwives and doctors I managed to welcome these two littles (Graham at 7lbs 2oz, Ruby at 5lbs 7oz) into the world without surgery and as healthy as can be. The rest of the past month has been a blur.

Coach and I have been lucky to have the help of my Mom for a good part of the beginning of this new life, and have enjoyed the love and support of dear friends. We have felt so loved and the babies have been so warmly welcomed! If we weren't so tired we would be more enthusiastic in our gratitude.

I could talk about this incredible, insane, sort of traumatic experience at length, and surely will at some point, but right now I am so in love, all I can do is stare at them. 

Which makes it hard to get anything done. 

I will be officially on maternity leave until the end of December, so will be posting here a little less often, but we have some fun things in store, so keep checking in! 

If you are on Instagram, and want a baby fix (and lots of pics of Lucy), you can find me at @curlygirldesign

Thanks for being with me on this journey,

xoxo 

By Leigh 10.18.2013 – 9:26 pm

42 Comments

October release sneak peek and a birthday wish

journal and Sketchbook

As many of you know, while today is a solemn day for our nation and a sad day for many that we know and love, it is also a day of celebration in our house. Today is Coach's birthday (and for awhile, we thought it might be our two children's birthday too...but it's not looking likely...sigh)!

So as I discussed last year, perhaps a bit more eloquently than I can muster today, I like to use this day to lift us up and make it in honor of the love and genuine closeness that we are capable of as humans. The unique ability we have as a species to care for one another and grow in love from our experiences. The fact that in one another we can find home. 

This new card, part of our upcoming October release, is about that. It is in honor of the roads we travel and the fact that in the end, with just one another, we will be somehow, be ok. This is in honor of refugees everywhere. Of partners everywhere. Of families everywhere. When landscapes change, or life changes, or circumstances change...open your arms and we are home. It is a reminder to each of us to open our arms to each other and to ourselves. 

It is specifically how I feel about Coach, and is also in honor of two of my very best friends who might be soon looking out their windows at a very new landscape. It is a hope for a safe journey, and gratitude for the journey thus far. 

Happy Birthday Buddy! I love you and our journey. (I also wish two parts of our journey would decide to join us outside of my body...so when you are blowing out candles later...consider that.)

I wish you all a day of peace, connection and joyful remembrance.

xo

By Leigh 09.11.2013 – 7:45 am

18 Comments

A few truths.

journal

Hello and Happy Friday! I was growing aware that it has been awhile since my last post, and people are starting to send out 'um...heeeeey, hope you're okaaaaaay...." notes, which might be a red flag that it has.

Don't send the dogs in just yet! I am here! I am fine!!! Thanks so much for noticing! I am just very very pregnant, and truth be told, tired. All. The. Time. 

It's not unusual at all, just sort of surprising to me as up until 30ish weeks I was cruising along doing all the things I normally did, just with more of a waddle. Now it's feels like I am walking through mud after 2pm. 

At any rate, I am here, but mostly in bed in the afternoons thinking of all the things I should be doing. 

(tiny update: the twins are doing great... he is weighing in at 5lbs 13oz and she is looking like she is 4lbs 11oz from the ultrasound. They are both active in there, head down and looking good from what we can tell. Fingers crossed I can keep them in there about 2 more weeks...or until my Mom gets here!)

I have had a bunch of time to think in between naps though and thought I would share a few things that are true for me right now. I have done this periodically here on the blog (here, here and here) and it has proved to be a good way for me to organize a little bit of whatever emotional chaos that is going on for me and at the same time connecting with those of you who get what any single item on these lists feels like. 

List makers gonna list. 

In no particular order, here are a few things that are true for me right now:

1.) I feel full. In every sense of the word. Physically, this pregnant with twins thing is getting challenging and the fullness is awkward, but also I feel full of little people. Of life. Abundant. Full of hope, fear, anticipation, growth. It may not be a distinctly feminine feeling, but it feels very Mother Earth-ish. Also, I am swollen everywhere, and feel like Willy Wonka filled me full of pudding. But don't picture me like that, stick with the Earth Mother image. 

2.) I used to tap dance in those shoes. I am starting to be aware of the transition that is about to happen from my discovery of the world and its wonders to their discovery and development in the world. I feel a tiny bit like I just got a one-way ticket out of Neverland. I am going from being a child (though in my 30's...) to being a parent. I trust that this will be just as magical, but it somehow feels like a small loss. 

3.) I love watermelon. If there were a more effusive way to say that that didn't sound over done, trust that I would say it that way. LOVE.

4.) Lucy is my soul mate. It sounds dog-lady crazy, and it doesn't mean that I don't feel connected to my darling husband, or other humans, but I am starting to really believe that this particular, spectacular mutt was sent here just for me. Like a service dog from heaven. (Oh, don't roll your eyes, it would be an amazing service...someone should take it up with management...) She is the glue. 

5.) I am bad sister. Well, recently anyway. I have not been in the kind of touch with my brother that I would like, or the kind of support that he might need right now. 

6.) I am scared. I said this out loud to myself for the first time the other day, and have been meditating on it a lot to give it less power, but it's true. I am scared of what is about to happen to my body and my life and the total lack of control that I have over most of that. This is coming in above wood chippers (shudder) and people that don't believe in dinosaurs. 

7.) I might have an Instagram addiction. It satisfies me on a chemically creative level that I can't quite explain. I'm confident that I have some close friends that have unfollowed me because of my, ahem, zeal. If you think you can take it, you can find me at: @curlygirldesign 

8.) I feel like something big is coming. Not like the end of the Aztec calendar or anything...Creatively. For me. There is this feeling that I get sometimes, like when a wave pulls back to gather strength so the next one can crash and dazzle. I have that. And I am pretty sure it's not heartburn.

9.) I can't feel the digits on my right hand. Thanks to pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel. This is inconvenient because I have an art deadline, and lots of thank you notes to write. 

10.) I am grateful. For many things, but recently, for my husband, my girlfriends, my employees and most of all, my mom. I am also grateful for my healthy body and the pretty incredible things it is able to do. 

There you go. My little list of true things. I always feel so much better having shared. What's true for you right now? Anything resonate?

By Leigh 08.23.2013 – 2:41 pm

14 Comments

First comes marriage…

journal

Four years ago today I married the love of my life.

Well, at the time, he was a guy that I really really loved a lot. Being married to him has made him the love of my life.

I am so grateful for the time and attention that we have been able to put into our marriage and for the confidence and trust Coach has shown in me and for the laughter and silliness that he brings to my life. We still choose each other every day and navigating partnership is still at times many times, a challenge but as we embark on this new crazy journey with two little ones on the way, I have never been more in love.

I write this here, so that when I am up at 4am crying and cursing his name, I remember this beautiful, hormone-induced love bliss and know that it was once real...

But really, my hope is that we are able to bring all of this choosing and challenge and silliness and laughter and craziness into our lives with kids and remember to hold each other's hands through the ride we are getting on.

Happy Anniversary Coach! Thank you for a spectacular year.

xoxo

By Leigh 07.24.2013 – 11:31 pm

4 Comments

All photos from my instagram feed ( @curlygirldesign )

Update from pregoville

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It has been awhile since my somewhat panicked just-found-out-we-are-having-twins post, nearly 2 months in fact. I thought I would give you a little update, since these last 8 weeks have been a remarkable shift.

First, thank you all for your utterly lovely and fully present support. I hear from you daily and am just so grateful. I could never have imagined all that this little spot on the internet in the world would mean for me over the years when I first started it, but it has been such a gift. For me personally, and for the community that I am trying to bring to my business. Thank you.

After the initial shock of finding out we were having not one, but two new additions to our family, our acceptance, excitement and dare I say, joy have grown right along with my ever-expanding physique. We are pretty jazzed to be getting two at once and very excited to be having a boy and a girl. We are also well aware that we have no choice, so we had better get on board.

It has brought us closer in ways I could have never predicted, which I suppose is why I love being married to my husband. Coach has navigated this (sometimes crazy-making) experience with me with such grace and even occasional tenderness (let's not get carried away...) that I have no choice but to assume that he will be an excellent father. It is almost unavoidable. Good thing huh?

I joke because otherwise I would just weep constantly at the beauty of all of it. Nobody wants to hang out with you when you cry all the time.

Suffice it to say, we are doing well.

I have felt surprisingly great! I don't want to jinx anything (since I am still only 29 weeks) but so far so good! I am starting to feel heavy in my bones, and the heat of the summer has occasionally gotten to me, but for the most part, I have been managing to get lots of rest and good food and walk with Lucy in the mornings still which makes me feel not such a captive to my giant belly. I might actually be one of those annoying people who loves being pregnant.

Its the only time in my life I have had tight abs. True story.

It's awesome! In fact, if I could stay at the 6 month size, I would. Something about the belly seems proportionate for my solid German/Irish build.

The babies are doing well, he is a little bit larger than she is, which they are keeping an eye on, but is most likely due to the fact that they are totally different people. Which I quite like. I love the idea of twins, but so want them to have lives as individuals. I love daydreaming of what they will be like when they get here, and have had fun putting the nursery together with Coach and my Mom. When it is all finished I will post photos. I can't wait to meet them, but am not quite ready to not have them all to myself just yet. We are a party of three right now, everywhere I go. I kind of like that for the moment.

I am still trying to wrap my head around the whole delivery thing, and with the high-riskness of a multiple pregnancy, it takes any sort of predictability out of it for the most part. Which I am starting to suspect is the lesson here... but my midwife says the babies will tell us how they want to be born and when, so we will let them be the boss of me for a while. I will have plenty of time to make it up to them.

A few material things I am immensely grateful for at the moment: This Gigantic Pillow , this book , this oil (which I may baste myself in for the rest of my life), this lotion , these hideous (sorry) shoes, these godforsaken undergarments (in the interest of full disclosure...), Starbucks grande iced coffee and ice cream...of any sort.

Any pregnancy things you couldn't live without??

xo

 

P.S. The above photos are from my Instagram feed, if you are not following me there, and don't mind millions of photos of Lucy, you should! I am @curlygirldesign

By Leigh 07.11.2013 – 1:33 pm

10 Comments

Oh Babies!

journal

**Caution** This post contains total hormonally-induced honesty.

Here's how it went down:

One week ago, 19 weeks, first ultrasound.

Quick-talking Ultrasound tech: Hey guys, how's it going? (squirt squirt)

Me & Coach: Great! thanks!

Quick-talking Ultrasound tech: This your first? (turns on the monitor, types a few things...)

Me & Coach: Yep. Pretty excited.

Quick-talking Ultrasound tech: So you guys know you're having twins?

Me & Coach: Ha ha! Funny ultrasound joke!!

Quick-talking Ultrasound tech: Nope. I'm serious. There they are....

All I could see on the screen were tiny body parts.

Then I burst into tears.

 

We have no twins in our families, didn't do any fertility work... only heard one heartbeat many many times!

This week has challenged my emotional range more than any I can ever recall in my now, 36 years.

I will start this by stating the facts. I know this is a blessing. I know that most-likely, everything will be just fine. I know that someday, I will look back on this and be so glad it went down this way. And I do, in earnest, just pray that everyone using my body as an HQ, including myself, stays healthy and happy.

And if one more person says the word "miracle" to me I may end up on the news.

But for the better part of this week I have been terrified. We walked out of that office having everything we thought about our life, changed. We have spent the time since then recalculating, relearning and rerouting. We have had lots of talks, lots of check-ins, a few fits, many sleepless nights and possibly one panic attack. I won't say who It was me.

Deciding that we have had enough surprises for one year, we opted to learn the gender, which was actually one of the highlights of the whole experience. One boy. One girl. Both are healthy so far and good size. We will be a family of four in a matter of months!

My panic is wearing off as the news sits with me, and the babies and I have regular conversations about how nice they are going to be to me when they get here. (I firmly believe in the power of suggestion.) We are working on figuring out what we REALLY need two of, and if I am going to have to give up my beloved Mini Cooper (tear). We have broken the news to Lucy, and though she wouldn't come up in the bed for 4 days, she has now decided to sleep in the giant body pillow with me, which I am taking as a sign of acceptance.

I think the life part is getting easier to imagine, it's the physical part of all this that I am still freaked out about. Can I do this? Will my body still work? Can I keep them in there long enough? How the HECK am I going to deliver? There is a whole lot of unpredictability about it. Unpredictability and I are not super-good friends.

And I am HUGE. Which is all part of the process, I understand, but considerably awkward.

I promise this will be my only whining post. I fully plan on returning to my upbeat optimistic self shortly. I just needed to say out loud that this scares the shit out of me.

In fact, a clever reader posted a comment the other day after sniffing out the multiplicity going on over here asking if we had a nickname for the 'bump'. I jokingly said to Coach: "Yeah, it's "Holy Crap!"

So there you have it! Big news just got bigger! I am soliciting positive vibes, reassuring stories and lots and lots of laundry detergent. Send help! diapers!

Thanks for being out there in this moment!

xoxo

By Leigh 05.14.2013 – 12:31 pm

51 Comments

Photos © 2013 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Oh Baby!

journal

Hi friends! It has been a rough week up here in Boston and I thought I would lighten it up a little with some good news! As some of you have suspected, and those of you that I will see in Columbus this weekend will soon see for yourselves, I'm pregnant!

Coach and I are super SUPER excited and have enjoyed some time with our news to ourselves. I am just about 17 weeks along with a due date in early October. I had about 8 rough weeks in my first trimester, I felt hung-over all the time, ate mostly chicken fingers and Cheetos, and slept pretty much two months straight but lately, feel very good and so far the baby is healthy. Vegetables and I are now friends again, which is helpful and I feel less like something has me by the ponytail and is just swinging me around willy nilly. I am also weeping less, which makes it easier to go out in public.

We are waiting to be surprised with the gender and are so looking forward to being parents for the first time. Our journey together has brought us so far, and so close, and though I don't think anyone ever feels really ready, we feel like the time is right for a tiny person to join us on this adventure.

Lucy, on the other hand, might not share our sentiments. Time will tell.

Here is a photo of us on the day that we found out:

Looking forward to having you all with me on this crazy ride! Have a great rest of the week!

xo

By Leigh 04.17.2013 – 11:51 am

38 Comments

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