The New Black Vanguard

By Abby

Entering the Cleveland Museum of Art on Friday, May 6th, felt a bit surreal. That evening the art was not framed behind glass, but, rather, walking, talking, and dancing to the music flooding out of the DJ’s booth. That evening was the grand opening of an exhibit that melds photography, art and fashion: The New Black Vanguard.

The exhibit features images from prominent and emerging Black photographers. These photographers often work with Black models, stylists and designers. While this exhibit has been featured in other cities, Cleveland made it special by adding live models. The models gracefully displayed the creations of three stylists from the show: Jermaine Daley, Daniel Obasi, and Arielle Bobb-Willis, each of whom created a unique look to emphasize the importance of stylists in fashion photography.

Many of the guests really stole the show though, in my opinion. Below are just a few of the many amazing people who came out to support this incredible compilation of combined talents that represents The New Black Vanguard.

The Black Vanguard photography exhibit is at the Cleveland Museum of Art through Sept. 11, 2022. Don’t miss it.

My husband is always right

By Elle

My husband, Arkady (yep, we finally got married!), and I rarely disagree about anything, which is amazing in and of itself, and even more amazing when you factor in how many home renovation projects we get ourselves into. The opportunities for disagreements should be boundless, yet somehow we align on practically everything. (And when we don’t, he typically gives in, thus making him right. What’s more, he said the other day that a wise man once told his wife … nothing. Because he was a wise man.)

Here’s one example, however, where we did not align: how to treat the small hallway leading to both our offices and the main bathroom. My husband felt the hallway should have its own “look and feel,” and I felt that it was too small to warrant any special treatment. I felt we should use the same flooring that we are planning to use in the front foyer, which ties into that hallway, although we haven’t fully decided on what that flooring is since we’re probably about a year away from tackling that project.

In the meantime, the carpeting in the hallway wasn’t bothering either of us, so we just let it be. Then on one of our frequent trips to Lowe’s, I spotted this delightful porcelain tile from Turkey. I immediately fell in love with its colors and pattern, and I itched to use it somewhere. But where? I was racking my brain.

“Hey,” I said to Arkady. “You know, I was thinking that you’re right about the hallway by our offices. Wouldn’t this tile look amazing there? And it would really define the space.”

His eyes lit right up.

After inspecting the tile, he agreed that it would suit the space perfectly. Win-win! We filled our cart with a few boxes of tile, a package of light grey grout and Schluter®-DITRA uncoupling membrane (used to prevent the tile from cracking), and off we went to upgrade our hallway.

After we removed the patch of carpeting that had been there along with the quarter-round trim around the perimeter, Arkady notched the door frames so that the tile could slip beneath them. Next we gridded out the pattern for the tile.

It took us a few tries to determine the pattern we liked, and we settled on one in which an arrow pointed to essentially the center of each of the three doorways (because we’re dorky that way).

Before we laid the tile, we installed the Schluter®-DITRA uncoupling membrane. We’d not used it before and were eager to try it. This small space offered the perfect opportunity because we planned to use DITRA on our kitchen floor. Turns out, it’s quite easy to use, and we feel reassured that the tile will maintain its integrity for years to come.

The trickiest part was ensuring that the height transitions to the various rooms were as even as possible. We used Schluter Systems aluminum tile edge trim for all the transitions. I know I sound like a Schluter salesperson, but their products, while a little pricey, are easy to use, and the edge trim offers a beautiful and seamless look. (We subsequently used the Schluter membrane and tile edge trim in our kitchen, beneath the porcelain floor, and are totally pleased with the result.)

Another bonus about this tile is that it complements the cork flooring in my office, the hickory flooring in Arkady’s office and the ceramic tile in the bathroom. We were less concerned about it complementing the ceramic tile that extends from the front foyer since that tile is not long for this world anyway, fingers crossed.

Aside from needing to touch up some paint (an endless task around our house, I’m afraid), this concludes another successful DIY project by yours truly and her Mr. Right.

Kids’ bedroom redo: sleeping for 6!

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion kids' bedroom redoBy Elle

I know, it’s been waaaay too long between posts, mainly because of elderly parent care (which has dramatically impacted our home renovation progress) but also because I can’t find it in my heart right now to write about fashion when the events of the world, particularly the state of our environment, are weighing so heavily on me. I’ve obviously sidelined the fashion posts, for now anyway, but I will post home renovation news as we have it. Continue reading

How to survive frigid temperature while making colorful ice balls!

By Elle

colored ice ballsDespite having lived my entire life in Northeast Ohio, I’ve never been a snow bunny, preferring to cozy up inside with a mug of steaming tea than go sledding or build a snowman on wintry days.  Now that I’ve reached mid-life though, I’m more tolerant of cold temps. During winters of late, I can’t ride in the car with a coat on, I keep the thermostat in the bedroom set at a brisk 62, and I often dream of sleeping on a slab of ice. Continue reading

Fireplace reno project nears a close

By Elle

Oh, friends, it’s been a long time, I know. We’re awfully preoccupied with taking care of elderly family members right now, so thank you for your patience as we try to carve out time for blogging…and for finishing some of our long-abandoned home reno projects such as our fireplace. Continue reading

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). Continue reading