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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Fashion 9-1-1 — I’m a tummy flasher

duluth-trading-company-no-yank-tank-tug-of-war-large-2Dear Abby and Elle: I have a fashion crisis on my hands! Actually the crisis is around my mid-section. I can’t, for the life of me, get my shirts to stop riding up and showing my spare tire to the world. I wouldn’t say I’m fat, but I’ve got some pudge. Whether I’m walking, standing or sitting, my shirts decide to creep up and let it all hang out. What’s the deal, and what can I do?  -Riding High

Dear Riding High: We hate to admit it, but we sometimes have the same problem, particularly with camisoles. The obvious solution is to tuck in your shirt, but we’re assuming that you are talking about shirts that either don’t tuck or shouldn’t be tucked.

Thus, we have three possible solutions for you: Continue reading

Trend alert: Pattern Mixing

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design mixed patterns

Elle favors this warm-weather combo of polka dots and lace.

By Abby and Elle
The change of seasons always offers an opportunity to shake things up, and if you’re like us, you prefer to shake things up in small, low-risk ways, such as trying a new cocktail or swearing off Facebook for a week, because what’s the worst that can happen?  Exactly.  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:

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Need a (safe & easy) hair color boost?

Trying out Watercolors by TressaBy Elle

I’ve often read that one should aspire to a lighter, warmer hair color as one ages, and since I suppose I know a wee bit about aging these days (after all, I’ve been helping to care for my mom), I think that advice is right on target.

Aw, who am I kidding. I can’t blame my mom for everything. Truth is, I’m getting older every dang day. And I’ve noticed that when I don’t color my hair, it looks dull and lifeless, and I look at least six months older than I am. At least.  But I really don’t dig using chemicals on my person, so when I do color my hair, I use semi-permanent products that wash out within a month. Downsides: 1) I forget to do it, and 2) I feel annoyed about committing 25 minutes to coloring my hair. I don’t have that kind of time these days. Srsly. And you probably don’t either.

So, after complaining about my predicament recently to my stylist, whom I totally adore and trust, she recommended Watercolors by Tressa.  Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Tressa was kind enough to send us several of their products to try. Try I did, and here’s what I thought.

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