Steal the Look: Self Portrait Dresses


Ooh la la! Love these unique lacy dresses. Thank you, Mandi, from The Style Chimera for this post.

The Style Chimera

Self Portrait is a brand that has really taken off lately.  Their look is so unique, mixing ultra feminine lace with super modern designs.  Their dresses are wearable works of art…which means they don’t come cheap.

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Fabulous hats, and a trick, for tea


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design spring hatsBy Elle

Hat shopping ranks close to the top as a delightful distraction in my book, especially when life feels too fast-paced, which is almost always. So a couple of weekends ago, two of my friends, Sultana and Amy, and I spent a recent morning at my favorite millinery, Studio St. Marie in Rocky River, to find spring hats for a tea party.

We had the best time trying on all the latest creations along with some vintage beauties (folks of yore had smaller heads, and, without fail, those hats fit my tiny skull just right). We each found a hat or headpiece to take home, and soon we’ll be making plans for a tea party. Continue reading

My official spring dress


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design | Uncle Frank grey embroidered cotton dressBy Elle

This grey cotton embroidered dress from Uncle Frank has become my official spring dress. I bought it several years ago from Green Roots Collection, wondering at the time if it was maybe a little too funky (this is Cleveland, after all), but that’s how I roll.

I gravitate toward this dress during early spring — probably because of the bright flowers — and at least once a season I wear it to our favorite pancake breakfast spot, at West Geauga High School in Chesterland. Turns out it’s also my official naturalization ceremony dress.  Continue reading

And then she fell in love with shoes


By Elle

When I was a kid, during those freewheeling ’70s, our family — mom, dad and younger brother — would spend at least one summer day at a local amusement park, called Geauga Lake.  The park began as a quaint picnic spot and swimming hole in the late 1800s and slowly grew into a full-fledged amusement park. In its later years, Geauga Lake changed hands several times, and its future appeared uncertain, until it closed, sadly, a decade ago.

Going to Geauga Lake was a treat, the highlight of the summer. My favorite rides weren’t the roller coasters (though I liked them well enough), but rather the antique motorcars, Ferris wheel at night and, always, the carousel and its old-timey organ music. I loved the history of the park and imagined myself there at the turn of the century, flitting about in a lavish skirt, frilly blouse and Gibson-girl hairdo.

Geauga Lake was relatively close, about a 45-minute trip from our house, so we could decide spontaneously to spend the day there, which is precisely what happened one summer morning when I was about 8. I recall that my brother, who was about 5 at the time, and I were playing outside (as usual) when Mom called us to get ready because we were going to … Geauga Lake! Woo hoo! While Mom packed a picnic basket — way too expensive to buy food at the park — my brother and I packed ourselves into the family sedan, a goldenrod Pontiac Catalina. Continue reading

Our big, fat kitchen renovation — the madness begins


By Elle

Spring is around the corner, and we have house renovation on our minds! Since last fall, we’ve been planning our kitchen renovation — no small task and kind of scary, too.  So because we are the quintessential DIY’ers (and quite frugal), we’ve been making trip after trip to the Kraftmaid Outlet in Warren, Ohio, to buy our kitchen cabinets for a steal.

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Mid-winter shimmer and shine


By Elle

My granddaughters who are between 3 and 5 years old love Shimmer and Shine, two spunky cartoon genies, one of whom has a particular penchant for glitter.  (That’s Shimmer, and she’s my favorite.)

Those two genies came to mind a few weeks back when I pulled out my fiber shawl, by MZ Beads, to wear to the art museum . I love how the metallic fibers shimmer in the light and give my spirit a lift during these mid-winter days.
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