Starfish and Coffee


By Abby

My daughter fawning over a pink purse.

My daughter entered pre-school this fall, so naturally I’m getting to know other moms from my area. One mother in particular, a kindred spirit, told me about a local coffee shop. I like to support local businesses so I dropped by one afternoon and fell in love, even before I opened the door. Continue reading

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Rainy days and Mondays


By Elle
I felt guilty for wishing for a rainy day recently, in light of the deadly storms in the U.S., all because I was itching to try out my new rain boots. So on a recent Friday, I woke up to dark skies and rain, and jumped at the opportunity to slip into my boots. After the rainy morning turned into a warm, sunny day, I took the afternoon off and met my daughter and two of my granddaughters at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, where they both quickly earned animal-inspired nicknames. Continue reading

Rice balls and fall trends


By Elle

With the (oddly) cooler temps this week, I was excited to pull this silky Asian-inspired jacket out of my closet. I’ve long loved Asian design, and most rooms in my house feature some piece of Asian art or a Buddha, some of them gifts from our Japanese exchange students we hosted many, many years ago.

I still remember the day our first student, Kumiko, entered our home. She knew about as much English as I currently know Spanish. In other words, I know a lot of random words but am hard pressed to form a sentence any Spanish-speaking person would understand. Dios mio, it was a rough few weeks! We engaged in a lot of hand gestures and arm waving. And it wasn’t until she knew the English words for vacuum cleaner that she could fully explain how her family saved her grandmother from choking to death on a glutinous rice ball. True story.  (And if you don’t know how that could happen — the choking part, I mean — you’ve never eaten a glutinous rice ball.) Continue reading

Let me just grab my hat…


By Elle

At the last minute this past Saturday, my beloved decided that we should go to the Feast of the Assumption in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. I wasn’t terribly in the mood until I spotted my sun hat that I’d bought from H&M just two days before.  “I’ll go get dressed!” I said, charging up the stairs.

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I did not build this…


By Elle

My 8-year-old granddaughter, Kiera, and I recently attended the Wick Juniors Writing Club Summer Camp, where we “camped” in our local national park inside a lovely brick dormitory, complete with indoor plumbing — can I get a hell yeah! I stayed on as a parent chaperone, helping to keep an eye on 10 elementary-aged girls, who, on the first night, refused to sleep. Because, camp.

By the next morning, Kiera had made friends with the other girls, and she was no longer acting like my shadow.  By afternoon, I got the feeling she didn’t want me around much. She now had the protection of an entire army of girls and didn’t need me anymore. My heart felt a little heavy, but I know how these things go. As long as she acknowledges me at our mealtimes together, I thought, I’ll be satisfied. By evening, I barely existed. I WAS the shadow. Continue reading

A hair-raising deck raising


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design deck renovationBy Elle

I was under the foolish impression that raising our deck about three feet to meet the patio doors we installed in our dining room would be a cake walk, especially because we were going to use the existing support structure. Well, I reckon it would have been except we got all fancy, adding two rows of storage below the deck, installing the field of the deck on the diagonal, and adding perimeter boards treated with a  technique called Shou Sugi Ban, and we needed to get the deck done ( done enough, that is) to host our Fourth of July family picnic. Tall order!

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