What’s the best beauty advice you received from your mom?

By Elle

Dear readers, I think this will be our last post for 2018. Between having the flu, which grabbed me by the shirt, threw me up against the wall and held me there for two weeks, and preparing for the winter holidays, I’m frankly exhausted.

So for the last post of the year, I was thinking it would be fun to share the best beauty advice you ever received from your mom (or other influential person in your life).

The advice I’ll share relates to external beauty, but obviously beauty emanates from within as well. In fact, one of my favorite quotes about beauty is from my beauty idol, the incomparable Audrey Hepburn:

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”  ― Audrey Hepburn

So the best beauty advice I ever received from my mom is this: When I was about 16 or so, I recall my mom catching me furiously rubbing my eyes, a practice that sometimes just feels so good. Rubbing your eyes relieves tension and feels invigorating. It’s like a mini facial massage. I remember her telling me, though, that I should avoid rubbing my eyes, and especially the tender skin beneath my eyes, because it will contribute to wrinkles later.

Even though I was an unruly, sassy teenager, I took her advice to heart. Hell, I didn’t want wrinkles. So I adopted a new technique, which I still use today: I use my ring fingers (which apply the least pressure) to clean my eyes and the area beneath them, and routinely use olive oil or vitamin E oil on my face to keep my skin moisturized.  Been doing this now for about 40 years, with acceptable results, so thanks Mom.

I’m not sure how my daughters would answer this question, but I do recall often telling them that their body is a temple and they should treat it with great respect. I tried to teach them the difference between good food and bad, the importance of sleep and avoiding those things, such as smoking and drugs, that poison the body.  “Worship your temple,” I’d say. “It’s the only one you have.”

So what’s the best beauty advice you ever received? Please share the wisdom that was handed down to you. We’re eager to hear and learn something new!

PS: Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday and happy, healthy New Year.

Easy fall outfits and how to slow down time

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design fall fashionBy Elle

Fall is the perfect season for styling outfits. The cooler temperatures allow you to play with different textures and weights, and layering offers the chance to create a variety of no-hassle looks.

This year, fall has me thinking less about chunky sweaters and cozy leggings and more about aging. I feel obsessed lately with time and the way the naughty clock is ticking my life away. Now it’s clear to me what it means to have a mid-life crisis — and to create a bucket list, which I haven’t done because I don’t have the time.

I’m trying to engage boredom and embrace quiet moments. I’m trying to quiet my mind. I’m trying to shake up the routine and predictable moments, like occasionally driving a different route to and from work — woo hoo, I know. Instead of checking my phone when I have a minute of down time, I pay attention to my surroundings in an attempt to notice something new. Novelty, as it turns out, allows our brains to perceive time as moving more slowly.  Continue reading

How to transition your wardrobe from winter to spring

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion winter/spring transitionBy Elle

Spring is officially here, according to the calendar, but the days, at least in Northeast Ohio, are still chilly — and today was downright frigid. Although we are eager to bust out our spring things and tuck our woolies deep into the closet, a move like that can be dangerously premature. OK, maybe not dangerous, but certainly premature.

Here’s how I put together one outfit to wear on a recent March day:

Continue reading

How to get that put-together look

img_2760By Elle

For as far back as I can recall, I’ve loved doing puzzles, from jigsaw puzzles to cryptograms. Puzzles help me relax and pass the time, especially on long plane rides and car trips. So when my beloved and I flew to Italy a few years ago, I made sure a Sudoku book was tucked inside my carry-on bag. Thankfully, my man doesn’t require a lot of attention and didn’t mind that my face was buried inside my Sudoku book as we flew from Detroit to Amsterdam. That is until we approached the Alps.

This is how the conversation went:

“Honey, look, it’s the Alps.”


“No, seriously, it’s the Alps. Look!” (Tapping me on the knee.)


“Don’t you want to see the Alps?”

“Uh huh. I’m really close to solving this problem.”

“Seriously? Your puzzle can wait. Look at the Alps.” (Pointing out the window.)

“Yes, they’re quite lovely.”

“You’re not even looking.” (Sounding sad.)

“They’re breathtaking.”

“You’re staring at your book.” (Sounding annoyed.)

“I’m working on a problem that requires crucial deductive reasoning skills.”

“Never mind. You missed the Alps.”

And, yes, he brings it up every now and again — he’s still incredulous — and I, still, harbor no regrets.

Continue reading

5 Tips for Treating Closet Disorder

By Elle

Abby and Elle Upstairs Fashion

Look, Ma, my clothes are not only hung up, but they’re also organized by style, color and sleeve length. (Bet you never thought you’d see that!)

Personally, I can’t function in chaos. Everything — well, most everything — in my life is neatly organized so that I can be as efficient as possible. It’s also a feng shui thing. From my desk and email inboxes to jewelry chest and purse, everything is categorized, filed, put in its rightful place. Same with my closet. (I know, I sound hateful, don’t I.)

If your closet is a disaster, try these 5 tips to help you get feng shui-ified:

  1. Organize by season. If possible, move your out-of-season clothing to another closet. That way, you can ignore your out-of-season items for entire months and you get more room in your closet. Bonus: When you see your clothes again, they’ll feel brand new! Or at least gently used.
  2. Next, organize by item. Slacks on one side, skirts on another, shirts in the middle. Or whatever order makes you feel happy. The point is to group like items together.
  3. Within each group, organize by style. Shirts are together, but turtlenecks and oxfords are subcategories, cohabitating nicely.
  4. Again, within each group, organize by length. Long skirts to short skirts; long-sleeved shirts to short-sleeved shirts.
  5. Finally, within each subgroup, organize by color. So all short black skirts together, short brown skirts together, black turtlenecks together, and so on.

Sounds a little obsessive, I know. (And like a lot of work.) But, trust me, once done it’s easy to maintain, and it will save you gobs of time trying to figure out what to wear every day.

That said, I haven’t yet found a solution to organizing all my scarves. Any ideas?