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

Outstanding in the Field 2013

Photos and journal and The Dish

If it feels like I talk about this event every year, it's because I do. It is my favorite event of the year, and since tickets go on sale on March 20 (the first day of spring...although Mother Nature didn't get the memo on that in Boston...) I thought I would once again do my best to talk you in to finding an event near you, (or one far away) and having a night, and a dinner, to remember!

I am in no way affiliated with OITF, they don't really even know I exist, even though I totally stalk them and this year will mark my 4th dinner (which is nothing! I have met people that have gone to 15+!) I am just a huge fan of what they are doing and have had some of the greatest experiences attending their dinners. And I'm a share-er. I think you would love it. You can read more about my first time here.

The concept is simple. Local Farm + Local Chef + Uber Local Ingredients + 200 strangers and a bunch of tables = magic. The OITF team travels the country on a bus for the better part of the year making these love connections and putting on single-night feasts in every nook and cranny of this fair country (and some abroad!). Al fresco rain or shine (fortunately I have lucked out with glorious evenings), the gatherings bring together local food and farm to table enthusiasts from near and far. Each is a unique experience, but all will bring you closer to the richness of what we eat and where we eat it from.

The venues range from farms in the plains to beach coves that celebrate the gifts of the sea. I have eaten in a peach orchard, a field that ran into the Pacific Ocean and a farm down the street. The table is always the same but the food on the table and the people in the chairs is magnificently different each time.

(Photos from last summer's dinner at Allendale Farm with Chef Tony Maws (not pictured) Pictured: OSIAF founder Jim Denevan)

Events and locations were announced here on March 1st, but tickets go on sale in two phases tomorrow March 20th starting at noon EST. Tickets sell out fast. Like, in some cases ...minutes. So my suggestion is to pick a friend, pick a place and just go for it! You will never ever regret it! Maybe I will see you there!

xoxo

By Leigh 03.19.2013 – 10:18 am

1 Comment

Adventure Part 1 & Book Winners!

Photos and journal

Good morning! Happy daylight-savings Monday (she says groggily...) I don't care how you shake it, I would suffer through greater things than a lost hour of sleep to have it be light at 7pm. But I'm a real trooper...

Actually, not so much. I have been a little under the weather this past week, which has landed me in bed for most of it and not doing what I was supposed to be doing like blogging, and making new cards for the spring release and (gasp!) Christmas. Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year pretty much all the time over here... I think it's why I have such a hard time putting my decorations away.

Last month I did the smartest thing I ever did and took a vacation in February. I can't believe I have never done that before! It is the tail end of a very hectic time in my work schedule, smack dab in the middle of Coach's basketball season and unreasonably cold and crappy here in Boston. Why not GO SOMEWHERE ELSE?!

I realize that I am very late to the game on this. No need to point out how many cruises you've been on or how that's why schools in the northeast get "February Break". I get it.

But MAN was that a good idea!

Since I was traveling alone, and looking for some R&R, my trip was very 'me' focused. For the first part of it I had the pleasure of getting to go to Miraval in Tuscon, AZ. I was there on the highest recommendation of a friend and a very fortunate 'deal' from a coupon site. My trip was delayed a day courtesy of one of the blizzards, but oddly, everyone (including the airline) was extremely accommodating and I arrived like I was meant to be there.

Miraval is an exceptional place. It is nestled in the Catalina foothills, close to nature and bathed in sunlight. The view of the snowcapped mountain peaks is only interupted by huge palm trees and their series of perfectly heated pools. The staff has the glow of actually enjoying their work and loving the people they work with, and not a stone of service is left unturned. The culture is rooted in their core philosophy of mindfulness, which sets an amazing tone for your time there. In that spirit, cellphones are all but prohibited on the grounds (except in your room and in designated areas) which means that you actually talk to other people, introduce yourself, and get to know someone new.

I admit to being a little lost at first in the dining room by myself with no 'device' to hold my gaze and purpose... something to keep me interacting ....but then I realized that what it was keeping me from doing was interacting. We use these things to interact, but also to avoid interaction. To avoid engagement with the people around us. It is certainly a self-preservation mechanism while we are waiting for a bus, or need to not be bothered on a crowded street or on a plane with a chatty neighbor. But when we get used to only engaging with those that we select, I think we miss out on a ton.

Over my 3 days at Miraval, I met so many cool and interesting people with some really rich and interesting backgrounds. At first I made it a little challenge for myself to sit quietly with myself and engage freely, but after a day there, it became something I saught out. I was chatting with everyone! It was like we were all on vacation together, and the community that the resort was able to create throught that one policy (as well as the many fun and exciting group activities) was impressive at the very least.

I filled my time during the three days with trips to the beautiful spa (breathtaking, really) to feel taken care of, hikes in the mountains to feel connected, delicious meals and great conversations to feel nourished, a couple of classes to feel challenged, naps, to feel rested and many many deep breaths to feel grateful. It was the greatest gift I have given myself to date. I highly recommend something like it.

When I got on the plane to head off to the second part of my adventure, I blew a little kiss to those mountains and that place and thanked it for myself back.

The photos above were taken on my first mornnig hike in the Catalinas. The night before was very cold, and what you can't see in the photographs (but that I wish desperately that I could have captured) is the billion tiny diamonds of frost that covered every tiny thing in the valley. It was spectacular! Being my first time in the southwest, I was of course on the lookout for new critters... I saw lots of roadrunners, jack rabbits, quail and even wild pigs (javelinas)!! At night I heard the healthy packs of coyotes howling and one girl I met saw a bobcat and her cubs. I was sorry to miss that. I am such a nature nerd.

Have you ever had a place or experience that you felt gave you yourself back?? Want to share?

xoxo

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BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

Thank you for all of your organizing tips and for taking the time to enter!
Random number generator has picked the following winners:

 

Jenny Hurst & Kathy Gallagher you are the proud owners of a new, spectacular book! Please email your mailing addresses to: info@curlygirldesign.com and we will get these right out to you! Congratulations!

By Leigh 03.11.2013 – 10:42 am

2 Comments

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

Reminders

Photos

Hello! So sorry it has been so long since I last posted. I have been on a marvelous and much needed adventure and been spending time with my sweet Mom who is in town at the moment. I will fill you in on my trip once my head stops spinning from it.

A few weeks ago we were talking about new traditions and I was going backwards through 2012. Well, I got to fall, and I literally gasped. I love everything about fall. Every. Last. Thing. Including, but not limited to these. So as I sit here in the dregs of winter (we got a fresh coat of snow yesterday), trying really hard not to complain about it (my resolution every year... I will not whine about winter...I will not whine about winter...) I looked back at some of my Instagram ( @curlygirl510 ) shots of the magnificent fall that we had (really, it was one for the books) and I am reminded of the beautiful cycle of things.

So to honor my pledge to not whine about winter....I will sing about fall!! It was beautiful, and full of peaceful mornings, hikes with friends, walks with my mom, adventures with Lucy, Election day, yummy pumpkin-flavored things, fun outfits and breathtaking color. I am grateful for it, and know that we could not have a fall if there were no winter.  (see, I'm coming around...)

Maybe next year I will have a collection of winter photos. That may be pushing it though. Help me! What makes you love winter?

 

Stay tuned this week! I will have a great little give-away, and some pretty fun product updates!

xo

By Leigh 02.26.2013 – 10:21 am

10 Comments

Photos by Lizzy Flanagan

New Traditions

Photos and journal

This year, the two major gift shows that usually fall just about a week apart, fell nearly two whole weeks apart. Though a very slight schedule change, its results were profound for me.

I found a week. FOUND. A. WEEK.

It's quite honestly better than any amount of money that you could find in a jacket you haven't worn since last year or under a seat at the movie theater. (I did actually find $60 once in a parking lot....it's even better than that.) Time, it seems, is our most precious commodity. It is one of the very few things we cannot buy and that we have absolutely no control over. I found 4 whole week days and one long(ish) weekend! WIN!

So, in an effort to relish and be responsible with this bright and shiny gift, I naturally made a list of projects I wanted to accomplish. Obviously. Most of them were around the house, making it unnecessary for me to get out of my pajamas, or you know, wash my hair. You're welcome honey.

My husband called it my 'week of Sundays'. He would come in after work, look around at the mess I had undoubtedly created and say: 'Mmmmmm! Smells like a Sunday in here!" Fortunately for him, I cleaned a few things (the fridge!) and made him my White Bean Chicken Chili.

One of my projects was to go through, edit and organize my photos from last year with the intention of printing a few and perhaps making a book or two.

None of those things happened, but I did get pretty distracted by watching the previous 12 months of my life go by and remembering all the fun stuff, and the little moments. There is a whole lot that I forgot to write about and a bunch of stuff I meant to share...so I thought I would go about that here for a bit. I will go backwards, cause somehow that makes sense to me, and start with our Christmas card.

Ironically, I have never, not once in my life sent out a Christmas card. It's slightly embarrassing, as someone who MAKES Christmas cards and is a member of the Greeting Card Association for Pete's sake...but frankly, as a wholesaler/retailer and person who usually has to travel to see her family at Christmas, I have never quite had the time or the energy.

But I LOVE receiving people's cards and the photos they put in them... I hang them up in the house and then feel appropriately terrible about throwing them out in, ahem, March....

It makes me feel like I know for a moment what is going on with everyone, what they look like now, how many kids or dogs they have, It makes me feel a little bit loved. And I wanted to participate in that. I wanted that to be a tradition that Coach and I did. I wanted to be able to look back at a bunch of years of our family Christmas cards and see how goofy we were. So, fortunately for me, I have a professional photographer at my beck and call (I have to bribe her with snacks and smelly candles) and a very photogenic dog-child.

Since the Mini was one of my very favorite things about this year, she had to be in the family photo! Only one shot got to be included in the card, but there were a bunch of good out-takes that I thought I would share. Since I am so often behind the camera, it is rare to have a decent photo of myself. Thanks to Lizzy, we have some from Christmas 2012 to look back on!

Contrary to my list of projects for this 'found' week, this was one list-item that actually got stamped, mailed and crossed off the list! Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile will also be relieved to know that our Christmas tree (pictured) was on the curb the first week of January. I didn't even cry this year.

So there you are, tradition started. Here's hoping it makes the list this year! Heh.

What would YOU do with a found week??

xoxo

By Leigh 01.25.2013 – 10:16 am

6 Comments

A Peachy Little Baby Shower

Photos and journal and She's Crafty

My dear friend Kate is just days away from delivering her first baby and I am so excited about it, I have had to work on 'projects' to distract myself! I have been being crafty, and depending how that goes, I will share the results with you later. In the mean time, I thought I would share some photos of her sweet baby shower that I helped throw a few weeks ago.

We had the totally handy (and special) opportunity to host it at one of the restaurants she and her husband own (and where he is the chef!) which made it both roomy and staffed ( perk-city!) as well as took care of the menu with delicious food!  I was in charge of decor (naturally....), and since the happy parents-to-be have referred to their growing bump as 'The Peach" I decided to go with that as a theme.

.

I was glad to find some 'springy' flowers at the flower market to keep the color pallet light. I arranged them in bushel baskets and fruit crates filled with ball jars and topped them off with some Chinese paper fans I found to accent the peach color theme. We toasted with peach bellinis and Kate's darling Mom had these delicious cupcakes made up as peachy as could be, by the lovely folks at White Mountain Cupcakery (who, P.S. WON the "Cupcake Wars"!) They were so cute and tasted so good, I was a little conflicted as to whether to look at them or eat them!

I used fruit baskets filled with peach candies or apricots (which look like baby peaches) and tied them off with a pretty peach silk ribbon. As a little 'thank you' for the guests (who showered our girl with adorable gifts) I picked macarons in pinky/peachy shades (and coordinating delicious flavors) and wrapped them up in little polka dot bags, tying them up with some green paper ribbon, which I cut to look like leaves. I painted an Avery sticker sheet with little peaches and hand wrote little 'thank you' messages on each sticker, then color copied the sheet onto other sheets to make the labels for the macaron favors.

The day was lovely from top to bottom, the mamma-to-be was surrounded by love and friends and lots and lots of tiny cute things! Surely a perfect way to usher in a beautiful new addition to our lives! I would even go so far as to say it was 'peach perfect'.

Can't wait to meet this little person!

xoxo

By Leigh 01.24.2013 – 2:19 pm

2 Comments

New Product Release - Demdaco

Photos and The Biz

Hello! I am back for a moment on a pit-stop from tradeshow season. This is one of a few times a year when we travel around like nomads presenting our product to the world of buyers. Buyers that own shops on Main Street and everywhere, that take all of our beautiful things back to their beautiful stores so that you can discover them! It is both hectic and exhilarating and the circus-cast of friends we have collected over the years is one of the finest rewards.

Another great part of the shows for me, as a licensed artist with a few companies, is that I get to see the beautiful product that they have developed over the past year in all of it's glory in their various show rooms. It is sort of like the 'reveal' on one of those "HGTV" shows ...I never know what it's going to look like, but it usually makes me say: "Wooooooooow". This year was no different!

I have been working with Demdaco for almost 5 years now and they never cease to amaze me! Their showroom is one of the most well curated showrooms in the whole market (in no small part thanks to their visual manager Cory! Great job Cory!) This year, they have done a sweet little release of some big-impact product and I am thrilled to the max with it!

We have already gotten this in to our warehouse and up on the site (which is a small miracle - thanks Lauren!) so it is ready to be scooped up! You will also see that our new "Just Our Type" line of cards and posters is up and ready! Exciting stuff!

The above beautiful, bright and completely lovable pieces are just a sampling, but are as follows:

1.) "Wine with Friends" Cutting Board: $24

2.) "Cape & Tiara" Paper Lantern: $22

3.) "Wine with Friends" Layered Wall Art: $42

4.) "Peacock" Mobile: $32

5.) "Hug You" Squiggle Plaque: $10

6.) "Mermaid" Squiggle Plaque: $10

7.) "Welcome to This World" Frame: $26

8.) "Mermaid" Layered Wall Art: $35

What do you love? Any favorites? I would love to hear!
More licensor product releases coming soon...

xox

By Leigh 01.16.2013 – 1:18 pm

3 Comments

Photos by me from Instagram

All A-Critter - A style board, and a cry for help

Photos and journal and Style File

We had a lot of pets in my house growing up. Just about anything you can think of, we had...except cats. We never had a cat. There was one kitten that I found the year of the floods but my mom washed him in the sink, got the fleas off of him and took him to a shelter. That was the last of the cats.

We had usual pets; dogs (Scout,Tag,Brody), hamsters (Muffin, Oatmeal, Peanut..see a theme?), birds...and we had unusual pets like a tarantula and a hedge hog (Harriet). We also had a box turtle or twelve.

It was like the Swiss Family Robinson. Minus the cool tree house.

As an adult I have had no real urge to have multiple aquariums full of various reptiles. I have decided against dependants that require me to keep mealworms in my refrigerator or a box full of live crickets. We just have a dog. She's pretty low-key.

But recently as Coach and I settle in to our new-ish home together and start to decorate together, I have noticed something. As we find things in our travels that speak to us, and as we add tiny layers to our living space to give it character or make us feel at home there, I am starting to feel....well, watched. We have inadvertently developed a collection of sorts. Nothing obvious at first glance. Nothing that we display proudly or call attention to. But as you wander around our home you will slowly discover that we have...critters.

I was worried at first that this was an 'age' thing...like having a collection of Hummels or porcelain cats and slowly but surely I would start to spend my days talking to my critters as I dusted them off. But as I have been finding them in my house and taking snapshots of them for Instagram (Curlygirl510) I realized that these quirky touches remind me of home. They add life and a little whimsy to our rooms and make the sometimes serious, unserious. Plus, I like them. They make me happy and remind me to smile (especially Walter, our bathroom walrus), and that, after all is worth remembering to do.

The world is full of clever critters for your home if you are feeling the need for an extra pair of tiny eyes to watch over you. I have collected a few here for you! Enjoy!

1.) Allen Designs Snow Owl Clock ~ Close2myart

2.) Happy The Future Owl Ornament by Cori Dantini ~ Marmalade (617-484-0093)

3.) Patch NYC Fox Lamp ~ Target

4.) Pewter Squirrel ~ MossMountain on Etsy

5.) Hedgehog Mittens ~ Morehouse Farm

6.)Handmade Plush Fox ~ KayshaK on Etsy

7.)Raccoon in a Suit 8 x 10 print ~ LuciusArt on Etsy

8.)Giraffe Hook ~ coming soon to Marmalade (617-484-0093)

9.)Hedgehog brushes ~ O'Suzannah, Charlottesville, VA

10.)Critter Mugs ~ Marmalade (617-484-0093)

 

Anything you love? Am I alone in my critter-collecting? Am I in denial? Weigh in!

xoxo

By Leigh 09.26.2012 – 4:33 pm

3 Comments

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

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

A quick catch up

Photos and journal

Oh my! Time is just cruising on by!

June is a month of creative development and wrap up before our summer trade shows begin. I have been in studio a lot (which you can see) and working on getting the shop ready for the holiday season (hard to believe, but I must.). It is both a very invigorating time and a tiny bit of a stressful one. My deadlines are looming (some of them have passed...eeep!) and I am at the moment "in the weeds". Not sure where I learned that term, but it suits me perfectly from time to time.

I wanted to say 'hi' though and give you a quick photo catch up of the past few weeks outside of the studio! (It has not been ALL work...)

I flew down to Dallas Market to buy for Marmalade for the holidays. I had three days, two trusty companions and a large list of things to accomplish. We got a lot done, not all...but we did accomplish some decent guacamole and margaritas. Win!

I have been home a bunch, working...which is no fun for Lucy, but it does mean that I cook more. And Coach, who is knee-deep in a doctoral program, has been 'bustin' it on his summer courses. One of which involved writing a 65-page paper in 5 weeks. Yipes! He finished yesterday....with an 'A'!! So glad and proud!

Oh, and one other 'mini' thing....

Lucy and I got a new ride!! I have wanted a Mini Cooper for about one million years, and after much deliberation and some serious 'grown up' decision making, we decided to go for it.

Actually, my darling husband said: "You work really hard and it really suits you. I think you should do it."

He said something like that one other time regarding a pink couch. (Our first major furniture purchase...) I think I swooned as much then. I knew all of those things, but having your person see you the way you see you is a pretty amazing thing. I am grateful for that.

So, that is the quickie version of what has been going on over here... via Instagram. I am back in studio this week so look for some fun new sneak peeks!

Hope you are all enjoying your summer beginnings! It's gonna be a great one!!

xoxo

By Leigh 06.29.2012 – 9:26 am

5 Comments

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