Fashion Show: See the Video Recap


Abby and ElleBy Abby and Elle

If you missed the Good Style Fashion Show this year, you can catch our collection, called Cleveland Staycation, in the short video below. This was our third year participating in the show, which features Goodwill finds made fresh for the runway.

Here’s our lineup, in order of appearance, with the cost of the outfit noted:

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Model: Jillian (aka Abby)
Total Cost: $22

Goodtime III
Model: Kalana
Total Cost: $32

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Models: Alicia, Emily and Tyler
Total Cost: $25

Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Model: Ava
Total Cost: $12.50

Great Lakes Science Center
Model: Noah
Total Cost: $12

Hessler Street Fair
Model: Bailey
Total Cost: $13

United Skates
Model: Brenna
Total Cost: $7.50

West Side Market
Model: Laura (aka Elle)
Total Cost: $4

Cleveland Orchestra
Model: Katie
Total Cost: $20

At Home in the Zen Garden


By Elle

We finally finished creating our Zen garden, which is this nifty alcove in front of the house. Prior to our redo, the space was blah. It housed a wall of burning bushes, a rhododendron and a crapload of weeds. But it had the potential to be fabulous!

We envisioned a calm, serene space that would require little to no maintenance. So we starting buying rocks. (BTW, if you need a reasonable quantity of rocks (i.e., not a truckload), Lowe’s and Home Depot sell their busted bags for half off; it’s quite the deal. They’ll even rebag them or tape the holes so you don’t wind up with a car full of loose rocks.) Then we slowly added some plants and a few decorative items, keeping in mind we wanted the space to feel clean and minimal. Not entirely sure we pulled that off, but the space is definitely welcoming and peaceful.

Anyway, check out the photos below. I explain in the captions what we did. My favorite part is that the kitchen window overlooks the Zen garden, so I can be all serene-like while I’m sipping a glass of wine and making dinner.

Let me know what you think!

future zen garden

The “before” photo. We were eager to transform that cool garden space in the front of the house. And I was eager to mow down those dang burning bushes. We’ve also since tightened up that front garden space, considerably.

The first thing we did was replace old, old windows with glass block.

The first thing we did (after mowing down the dang burning bushes) was to replace an old leaky window with glass block.

At the foundation, you can see two new glass block windows. These had been open vents. Even in the winter. I guess that made sense in the 70s. My gas bill says glass block makes better sense.

At the foundation, you can see two new glass block windows. These had been open vents. Open, even in the winter. I guess that made sense in the 70s. My gas bill tells me that glass block makes much better sense. The pesky gas contraption on the left will be hidden by our old metal window well cover, which I spray painted white, once we permanently “install” it.

We planted hostas in between the former open vents and filled the space in front of the vents (now glass block) with marble.

We planted hostas in between the former open vents and filled the space in front of the vents (now glass block) with stones. In the foreground, you can see our mint garden, which is contained in a metal frame that Arkady made. (Dear Universe: Encourage the mint to stay within the confines of the frame and not take over the entire space.)

Next we placed pavers in a simple pattern, filled the space with river rock.

Next we laid down landscape fabric, placed pavers in a simple pattern and filled the space with river rock. Hmm, I see my mint needs a trim.

We added a stone bench, two sky pencil holly bushes and our foo dogs, who protect our sacred space.

We added a stone bench, two sky pencil holly bushes (they’ll grow to about 10 feet), a moss-covered rock and our foo dogs, who protect our now sacred space. If you need any mint, let me know. Or just come and pick some. Seriously, take as much as you want.

View from the "entrance" off the driveway.

View from the “entrance” off the driveway.

Arkady has been obsessed with dawn redwoods since he discovered they can grow in Ohio. So we have two in the Zen garden. And three in the backyard. And one growing in a pot in the kitchen.

Arkady has been obsessed with dawn redwoods since he discovered they can grow in Ohio. So we have two in the Zen garden. And three in the backyard. And one growing in a pot in the kitchen.

View from the front.

View from the front. Ah, I feel more relaxed than ever. Cheers!

Shrug It On Again


By Abby
As promised, here’s the sequel to Shrug It On. I love the simple elegance of this set. It needs no embellishments, no accessories.

If you haven’t added a shrug to your wardrobe yet, what are you waiting for? They’re especially perfect for summer because they’re lightweight yet offer the comfort you crave when you’re forced to endure the frigid temperatures of every dang indoor establishment in June, July and August. Seriously, I’m all for not drowning in my own perspiration, but what’s so wrong with keeping the indoor temperature at, say, a balmy 70 degrees?

Stay tuned for another shrug sequel and a recap of the Good Style Fashion Show, complete with video!

Shrug It On Again

Shrug It On


By Abby

In case you didn’t know already from my previous post, All Wrapped Up, I love a good shrug. I like them so much because my core gets hot but my arms will be cold, the answer: a shrug. And yet I only have four shrugs, a black, a white, and two brown. One of the brown shrugs I have is very similar to the one pictured below.

I noticed that I was getting into a wardrobe funk. I would only wear my brown shrugs with the same outfits over and over again. And so I wanted to see how many outfits I can pair with this shrug; below are two outfits. Next week I’ll post another set on Facebook. Be sure to like us on Facebook so you won’t miss out.

Shrug It On

Kitchen in Transition: Countertop Redo!


By Elle
We hadn’t planned on spending all last weekend redoing our kitchen countertops, but that’s what happens when you get a great idea and have a little time (sort of) to spare. The great idea came from my hair stylist, Jenn, who recently used Giani Granite stone paints for her countertops and is smitten with the results. Back up. You read that right: stone paints.

What does that mean to you? Two things: 1) it’s easy to do, so long as you can hold a paintbrush, and 2) it’s an incredibly inexpensive solution to crappy countertops. From 1972.

The idea is you can redo your countertops to make them look like marble or granite. We opted for marble but ended up with something completely different….

Continue reading

All Wrapped Up


By Abby
Wool Overs is not pulling the wool over your eyes when they say their natural fiber clothing is an amazing value. The company offers wool, cashmere and cotton knitwear, mainly in classic styles, for both men and women. They were nice enough to send me a piece to review, and I chose a ballet wrap cardigan, made from silk and cotton, in natural white — perfect for cool summer evenings.

The cardigan is everything they said it would be: soft, comfortable and versatile — three qualities I love in my clothing. This cardigan can be casual or dressy and can be tied in different ways to achieve different looks. Continue reading