Tag Archives: properleigh

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…


One of the things I love most about being a mom of three young girls is watching the interaction they have with one another. It’s more than having someone to play with. They truly show care and concern for each other, laugh together and share special moments that only sisters can share. It’s a blessing to witness. Watching their interaction often makes me think of growing up with my sisters. I’m lucky to witness what my mother witnessed as she watched us grow together. I love the similarities. In honor of of National Sibling Day I’m sharing some great things my girls do that remind me of growing up with my sisters.

They Love Musicals

Whether it’s the Sound of Music or one of the unforgettable songs from Frozen my girls know them all and thanks to Pandora, we can belt out the lyrics to our favorite show tunes or musical movies every morning on the way to school.

They Can and Will Perform For You

They don’t just love musicals they love to sing and dance. And, will do a show. Just sit, watch and applaud at the end.

They Can Have a Dance Party Anytime, Anywhere

It takes a special soul to literally get up and dance at any moment, I have three of those special souls. My girls will ask to get up from the dinner table to dance to a great song or better yet, if someone yells “dance party!” you’ll hear footsteps running from all parts of the house to join in. Same goes if you yell “group hug!”

They’ll Make Up Games

My sisters and I made up a lot of games as kids. I thought it was a West Indian trait but according to my husband, it’s an Italian trait as well. My girls have no problems making up games like wagon ball, where you try to shoot the ball in the little red wagon.

They’ll Change Or Make Up Song Lyrics That Correspond To The Current Situation

This takes true skill. Very cool.

They Play Music Together

This is truly a blessing to watch. Not only are they becoming actual musicians like my sisters and I were as children, but they’re performing together, in their own band, just like we did. Not many children experience this. I’ve performed with my sisters professionally since I was 9. Being a young musician is the most amazing thing but performing with my sisters was the very best part.


be Moved, be Inspired


I first met artist Sarah Zeffiro by chance when she kindly attended the opening reception and launch of my organization, Barrels to Beethoven. Although we had never met, her spirit makes you feel as though you’ve known her for years. Our next close encounter was in December, her amazing artwork was the featured art in my pop up boutique. She spent a day with us in the boutique and during that time, I had the pleasure of getting to know her even better. Sarah doesn’t just tell you about herself and her art, she shares her inspiration and process.  She also wants to know about you and your experiences. It’s as if she absorbs the world around her and fully experiences every encounter she has the opportunity to be a part of.

Sarah approaches her art as a dancer approaches the stage, musically, rhythmically and sometimes a bit wild and unpredictable. She describes her creative process as being like a dance, moving around and on top of the work, swapping large brushes for small and charcoal for pastels, all while in motion.

Sarah’s new work, “Moving Language” opens on Saturday April 18th. This work blends space, lines, texture, dance and movement. I’m excited to be a part of this project and cannot wait to experience the final product.  SAVE THE DATE!

Moving Language

April 18th thru May 22nd  

fieldwork contemporary gallery

4925 penn avenue

#DearMe…What I’d Tell My Younger Self

youngleigh3 (2)me in 2000, my first apartment

In honor of International Womens Day this Sunday. I’m joining in on the newest trend, #DearMe. What would you say to your younger self? When I first read about this I thought, “what WOULD I say to my younger self?” I wasn’t quite sure. And, which “me” would I speak to? When I think about my childhood and teenage years, not perfect, but I was okay with myself back then. So I guess I would speak to my 20 year old self, the beginning stage of who I would later become. Me, on the brink of lost naivety. I had high hopes, for myself and for others, and at times, left disappointed. Back then, I thought everyone was about working hard, being successful, having great relationships, and most of all being happy. I was raised by immigrant parents that came to America with almost nothing and worked hard to build a good life. So, once I reached my twenties, I was excited to work hard and build a great life, to continue the path my parents had set for me.

In my twenties I learned that not all people want or are willing to work for a those things. Some take it for granted, and some waste it. When I was a young manager, I couldn’t imagine that someone would have a job and not actually want to do their best every day. It was really shocking to me, why apply for job, go through training, get dressed and come to work when you don’t want to actually do the work? That realization was very disappointing to me and I was constantly trying to encourage poor performers to do better, think about their future and get them excited about even the smallest accomplishment. I drained myself doing this until a mentor I had early in my career explained to me that my success was about helping myself and helping others, but I couldn’t help everyone and shouldn’t try. He explained that not everyone wants to be the best at what they do. He said that although I may want success for others and I may try to save everyone, they won’t all get in the boat. And, that’s okay. Advice I still keep with me today.

I also learned a lot about relationships, especially with family and close friends. These relationships get harder to maintain especially as you get older, and life changes occur. I’ve learned that not everyone is willing to put in the work required to maintain a strong relationship with a brother, sister, cousin or friend. Again, I couldn’t imagine having a brother or sister I don’t speak to regularly or a best friend that I never see, but it happens all of the time. Typically great relationships with siblings or friends seem to happen for those willing to put in the work and fight through the difficult times. We should all focus on maintaining these relationships and enjoy the value they add to our lives. These relationships may seem important in our youth but as we grow they’re extremely important and valuable, but not guaranteed.

Lastly, happiness. It has always been extremely important to me to be happy, positive and maintain a can-do attitude. Not lie to myself when things are bad, but always thinking of my many blessings and determining the path that will take me out of the difficulty I’m facing. I have always tried to pass this on to others and do what I can for those who need me, sometimes to my own detriment. I would tell my younger self to maintain this ideology and attitude but also remember to put myself first, on occasion.

Oh yeah, and I would also tell myself, “Leigh! No matter how much weight you gain when you have your children…do not give any clothes to your sisters! You will get back to your size. Keep your fabulous wardrobe!”

What would you tell your younger self? #DearMe

My Anniversary Weekend…Planned!


This week, like most has been hectic. Meetings, proposals, 2HR delays, school closings, bitter cold, and the usual craziness of running a business and raising a family. The highlight? My daughter Stella receiving a scholarship for academic achievement for next school year. She’s only 7 years old, but we’re convinced this will the first of many. The weekend will be a little different than usual. This weekend, we’ll be celebrating our anniversary, we have some fun activities planned and are spending it without our girls.


This afternoon we’ll take the girls to spend the weekend with their nonnie and nonnuzzi. I purchased tickets for Startup Weekend Education. It may be surprising to some, but Startup Weekend has quickly become one of my favorite events since entering the tech scene, it was my first choice when deciding how we would spend our anniversary weekend. I’m excited to hear the pitches and see what ideas are chosen.


This will be an entire day without my girls. The first time I’m not out of town, but home, without children. I know I’m going to miss them but I am looking forward to it. I have decided that I won’t be doing any work, no; proposals, reviewing resumes, cooking, cleaning, laundry, nothing of the sort. My husband and I will just relax. Something we never get to do. I’m taking this day to re-energize, gather my thoughts and plan out the next few months.

Saturday evening we’ll trade in our lounge wear for a suit and fancy dress and head down to the Hotel Monaco. It’s my first time, I’m a little late to the party. My husband was one of the contractors on the project so he’s seen the ins and outs and excited to give me a tour.


This will not be the typical Sunday. No waking up at 6:00 am to clean and prep. Instead, I’ll be sleeping in…again! Church, then brunch to celebrate our actual anniversary. The big focus for the day after brunch will the nonprofit I started with my husband. We’re at a pivotal stage and have a list of tasks to accomplish. Sunday evening it’s back to Startup Weekend Ed. to see the final pitches. This is the best part. The conviction, team work and hard work that fills the room inspires me.

This weekend will be and feel much different than most. Sunday, February 22nd will mark our 12th wedding anniversary. We’re excited to celebrate our marriage and we’re proud we’ve made it this far. What makes us even more proud is the 15 years we’ve been together and the life we’ve built in that time. We’re a team, and I absolutely adore him.

Despite what some think (we sometimes get made fun of for this), we don’t always get along and we do argue, we just have a very strong bond and even stronger friendship. I used to wish that we had known each other from childhood. David would have definitely been my best friend.

We’ve been called, “too cute,” “lovebirds” and “all in all a great couple.” Such kind and humbling words. Those kind words mean so much to us. So much more that the person saying it could ever know. Our love needs encouragement, all love needs encouragement…and support. Marriage requires even more encouragement and support than we sometimes realize. I said before that I was proud of us for being together so long. It may sound strange, as though we’ve won some sort of award, but it’s true. I’m proud. Proud because marriage is difficult, really hard work, but I want and need my marriage to work. I love my husband and need him to be my husband.

Twelve years is a long time for anything. My mother asked the other day if this year would mark our twelfth anniversary, I responded, “Yes, didn’t you see the movie they made about us? It’s called, Twelve Years a Slave!” She didn’t laugh. I did! She really couldn’t believe it had already been 12 years since our wedding day.

Think about your life twelve years ago. How different were you? We were so different. So young. I was 23 years old. I knew a few things, not much, but I knew how to love. That was the easy part. After all, it’s so easy a child can do it. I never think about what I don’t know when it comes to love. It’s as natural as breathing. No one teaches you how to breathe, you just know. Think about any child you know and how they express love. My children, they hug me when I’m sad and stay by my side. They give me compliments, somehow knowing when I need one. They cheer me on and are my biggest fans. They surprise me with a beautiful drawing or painting specially made for me and they constantly say “I love you mommy.” The way they love is so similar to the way David and I love. Support, encouragement, unexpected kind gestures, loyalty, and constantly saying “I love you.” That’s what I need to feel loved, and that’s what I get. I’m a big believer that we should NOT follow the golden rule. Yes I said not.  I believe we should treat others how they wanted to be treated. Not how we want to be treated. The same with love and relationships. We should love others how they want to be loved. How they need to be loved. Not how we want to be loved or want to love them. That kind of love, giving the other what they need when they need it, that’s what’s lead us through the past 12 years.

I am overjoyed, 12 years, 3 kids, 2 non-profits, 1 business, lots of love and endless hopes and dreams. Blessed and grateful and excited for what happens in the next 12…as long as it doesn’t go by too fast.

Enjoy the weekend.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Any holiday that celebrates love with chocolate and flowers works for me. Depending on where you are in your life this day may look different, but  no matter who you are or where you are in your life, you can still celebrate.


For The Kids

Most children have Valentine’s Day celebrations at school. Instead of buying treats or pre-made Valentine cards, I have my girls create treat packages for their classmates. It allows them to not only be creative, but add a personal touch, which is the best part of giving someone a special gift. Also, don’t forget the teacher, a special teacher deserves a special treat! We’re giving our special teachers triple layer chocolate macaroons from my new favorite bakery, Gaby et Jules, bravo!

For The Family

In the past we’ve celebrated two ways. I sometimes host a Valentine’s Day sleepover with my girls and my nieces. Usually the day before. Last year my oldest also invited a friend. They loved it! We had a great time playing games, watching movies and of course waffles (with fresh strawberries and whipped cream) in the morning. On Valentine’s Day, for dinner, my husband (who is an amazing chef) makes me and the girls an amazing “fancy” dinner, as my girls say. Last year we enjoyed filet mignon at our beautifully decorated dining room table.

This year we’re hosting a Valentine’s Day Family Dance party. We’ve invited other families to celebrate and dance with us. My girls really wanted to have a party and we love to dance. It’s going to be a very fun evening.

 For Your Partner

Just because there’s no date doesn’t mean my husband I don’t celebrate one another. My advice is to do something small but special. Although, I will never tell you not to, love does not require grand gestures. I absolutely love flowers so a beautiful bouquet usually gets me. If you know your partner well, it should be easy. This year, I may just need a day to sleep in and relax. Do you think my husband reads my blog? A surprise weekend trip, beautiful piece of jewelry, dinner at a fabulous new restaurant whatever you choose, think more of your partner than yourself.

 For Your Friends

Host a dinner party. Who doesn’t love an amazing dinner party? Champagne, beautiful décor, a lovely centerpiece and a great soundtrack in the background of wonderful conversation. Treat your friends to an amazing evening.


A night on the town. When in doubt go dancing! There’s nothing can can keep me off the dance floor, except a bad DJ. Take your best buds out for a night on the town. Dress up and get down (was that corny?) and enjoy the evening with your friends.

Whatever you do, take the time to celebrate the people you love and enjoy this day dedicated to love.

You’ve Got A Friend

friends2 (2)

I’ve witnessed a very strange phenomenon. When I first saw this as a young girl I was utterly confused. I had to go home and ask my mother about it because I just didn’t understand. And still now, years later, I still find myself discussing this phenomenon with, yes, my mother. It’s so strange and so puzzling that I want to know more, but so strange and so puzzling that I’m afraid to. By now I’m sure you are totally intrigued to find out what I’m talking about. Right? Well, this truly strange thing isn’t really a thing, it’s more like a behavior. A behavior which seems to plague mostly women and young girls.

The behavior is… the need to bad talk one another, more importantly, those we call friends. My confusion lies between the behavior and the fact that we turn around and are friendly with that person, really friendly. We see it all of the time on shows like “The Real Housewives.” One scene they’re bad talking someone and the next, they’re hosting a dinner party and all are invited. I feel like shows like that have given me a better sense of how some women behave. I mean, you can really learn a lot from reality television, I have. We’ve all had not so kind words for someone, whether we’ve been hurt by them, or just don’t like them, we have opinions and feelings that we want to, sometimes have to share. I think that’s common and for the most part, okay. The part that has always confused me, the part that is the phenomenon, is the act of turning around and pretending to be friends. That’s the part I don’t get. Why would you want to be friends with someone you think so little of? I love my friends, they are all wonderful people in their own way, and have qualities that I admire, not despise.

I joke a lot about “my time in the suburbs”, the year I spent between having my third child and starting my business. The time in my life that I will never forget, and not for good reasons. I learned so much about women, behavior and friendships. I thought I had seen it all, working in the retail industry, you experience a lot, both from the customer end as well as employees. I hadn’t seen a thing. These women taught me that what you see is not what you get. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I learned, I was out. At first, I was constantly shocked by the behavior of some of these women, literally ripping someone to shreds, then inviting them over to their home for playdates and evenings drinking wine. I just couldn’t understand it. After a while, it was too much to watch. How do you know who to trust if the same people that offer to pick your kids up and invite you over for parties, are the same ones speaking, sharing, making up (there was a lot of that too) terrible things about you? The answer is you don’t. They weren’t all this way but there were definitely some major offenders.

I’ve been told that I’m lucky to have such self- confidence and pride. I do consider myself very lucky in that way, blessed actually. I believe that people with a good sense of self, pride and self-confidence, act a certain way. You see the world and your place in it very differently than someone with low self-esteem. Therefore, you conduct yourself differently and,  you’re always looking at how you can improve and be a better person. My rule is, you can truly be nice to everyone, because it’s based on you, not them. For me, it takes nothing to smile and say hello. As my husband quickly determined when we first met. I do this everywhere I go, whether I know you or not. If I’m not very fond of you, the gestures will end there. On the other hand, if I invite you to my home, encourage my children to form a relationship with you and continue kind gestures, then I do really like you. That’s the part some women are missing, especially those “Real Housewives.” You should always be kind, and pleasant, even if you don’t like someone. However, if you’re going to be someone’s friend, spend time with their family, build relationships with their children, encourage your children to form relationships with their children, then make sure you truly like them. The people you spend most of your time with, should be the most special to you. If you can turn around and insult their looks, lifestyle, husband, or children (yes I’ve heard it all) they’re not your friend, and…you’re certainly not there’s.

I think most of us know who our real friends are because great relationships feel a certain way. My truest and most important friend is my husband. In addition, I consider myself very lucky to have a few great friendships. I know it can be difficult to have just one.

Once you have that feeling of comfort, joy, and most important trust, it’s so hard to settle for anything less.

My Weekend…Planned


Fridays are all about the weekend plans. After a busy week, the weekends can be even more hectic! My weekends aren’t all fun but they are always well planned and productive.


This week was especially difficult. My daughter went through a terrifying experience at school so I’ve had to focus on her while still trying to handle clients and business. It’s been difficult. The morning will be focused around my do to list. A combination of tasks, both work and family related that I should have complete by noon. The afternoon will include; two interviews for clients, and details around an event I have planned for April as part of The Open Engagement Conference, an international conference being held in Pittsburgh for the first time. I’m super excited about this event and the artists I’m collaborating with.

I’m excited about the evening which includes the kick-off meeting for Style Week Pittsburgh, with the Founder and my fellow Style Week Ambassadors, followed by the arrival of my awesome sister in-law and her fiancé from California. A visit from them means a weekend of love, fun and laughter. I love when they visit especially to see how much they love and enjoy spending time my girls.


In addition to the usual, wake up early, clean laundry, work, and my daughter’s CLO Academy classes, this Saturday is also the most exciting day of the year! Well, for my father in-law anyway. We’re making soppressata! If you know me, then you know that soppressata has quickly become one of my favorite things to eat. First because it’s made by my husband and his family and second, because it’s so delicious. If you don’t know… A specialty of southern Italy, soppressata is a cured, dry sausage, made from cuts of pork coarsely pressed or ground and hung to dry for a few weeks. This time of year means Italians everywhere are making soppressata, capicola (which they also make and is delicious) and other cured delights. This day is so special for my husband, he loves tradition, we both do. This year will be even more special with my sister in-law and brother in-law joining us.

Saturday evening will consist of the traditional family dinner after the soppressata work is complete. After that, I’ll be off to a friends birthday celebration.


The first mission remains the same..MAKE IT TO CHURCH ON TIME! I know we can, I know we can. Then gathering with the Puglianos for another day of family fun. I always have to dedicate a few hours to work on Sundays, especially to prepare for the week. After that will be another family gathering for the Superbowl…wait whose playing?

My Weekend…Planned

Ready to go!
Ready to go!


Fridays are all about the weekend plans. After a busy week, the weekends can be even more hectic! My weekends aren’t all fun but they are always well planned and productive.


I’m working from home today, no meetings except with my husband who is both co-founder of my family and business ventures. My work day will end at 3:00pm to get the kids from school. No bussing and no after school program on Friday means we have to get our kids from separate schools, across the city, at the same time! On, Fridays I need my husbands help to accomplish this mission.

Most days, after school pick-up, homework and snacks, I continue to work until dinner, but not today! My oldest daughter is trying out for Broadway producers hoping to earn a role in Mary Poppins! She’s been working so hard and I am so proud and excited for her! Next up? Roller skating! Yay! My husband will be taking the girls roller skating while I catch up with a friend. She’s been travelling for a little while and we have a lot to discuss. We’ll happily do so over a glass of wine while enjoying some great live music.


I usually wake up at 5:45am or 6:00am. Make a cup of tea, straighten up the house and work for a bit before it’s time to get dressed and go. My oldest, has musical theatre from 9:00am to 1:00pm. I either drop her off and find a spot to get some work done or come back home  for laundry and more cleaning. My 7 year old, will start dance and art classes soon, I haven’t quite worked out that plan yet. Saturday afternoon is all about the girls and having lots of fun. This Saturday afternoon we’ll check out the new “Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood” exhibit at the Heinz History Center. We are all huge Mr. Rogers fans, and I personally feel a special connection, having met Mr. Rodgers and appearing on the show as kid. My kids think that is a big deal!

Saturday evening we’ll prepare and eat dinner together at home, and enjoy an evening of music, dancing (laundry in between) and a movie.

Before heading to bed, I’ll press and prepare our clothes for church.


Sunday morning is all about Belgium waffles (with strawberries and whipped cream), the girls love my husband’s recipe. Then church, aka mission impossible. The goal every week still remains the same…to make it to church on time. It never gets easier! Going to church as a family is very important to us. Not only do I love mass but I love that hour with my family. The girls always squeeze together during mass. They hold our hands and show so much love and affection for one another. It’s a beautiful thing.

After church we’ll enjoy a nice quick lunch. After that it’s back to work for me. My husband will entertain the girls while I meet with a new client and prep for another meeting. Sunday evening I’ll prepare for the week. I review my work calendar, our family calendar and press the girls uniforms for the week.

The goal of a well planned out weekend is to make sure we get the important things done and still have some fun.  Even with so much to do, we stay flexible and down for whatever. We love spontaneous fun!

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day



Martin Luther King day always leaves me with mixed emotions. On one hand I am so moved by Dr. King and all of the people who were a part of the civil rights movement but on the other hand, I get overwhelmed by sadness thinking about the kind of world they lived in versus the kind of world we live in now.

To celebrate the day, I used to volunteer. Now to celebrate, I spend time with my children, out in the community at the Kelly Strayhorn MLK event. I love this event because it’s geared toward children, the arts and the community.

I spent some time earlier in the day listening to Kings speeches with my girls. The “I Have a Dream” speech from the March on Washington and his last speech before his assassination. I cried. Actual tears. I heard both of those speeches a thousand times, but today, I cried. Thinking about that world, this world, his strength, my children, and the experiences I’ve had. I cried.

There was so much hate back then. But there is so much racism today. There is still so much work to do.

On this day people are hopeful, happy and celebratory. We all love Dr. King, his messages and his story. For me, I think about my message, my story and my impact. How will I make the world a little bit better for my children, all children. The truth is…I’m not sure. The real truth is, I’m going to try. I know for a fact I’m not racist. I know for a fact I don’t hate. I know for a fact that I judge others based on the content of their character. I’m blessed to think that way.

Happy Martin Luther King Day. Continue to live as though the fight is not over. Continue to focus on his dream. Our dream.