7 Cardigans for $19

By Elle

Abby & Elle cardigansI recently went on a mad hunt for cardigans for three reasons: 1) During the summer months, I (along with every other women who works in an office) freeze at work; 2) I need to be able to whip off clothing at a moment’s notice — yeah, I’m at that special age, and 3) I’m pretty bored with my collection of two black cardigans. While black is classic and all, I’m yearning for color lately.

So during the recent tax-free weekend on clothing and school supplies, I headed straight to Goodwill to see what I could find. And find I did! Seven perfect cardigans for $19, out the door. I’m no math whiz, but I’m pretty sure that’s less than $2.75 a piece. Sweet!

Check out my haul, and let me know if you have a favorite.


Abby & Elle cardigans

I adore wearing pink, black and white. It reminds me of Good & Plenty candies, which, I just learned are the oldest branded candy in the USA.

Abby & Elle cardigans

This grey, black and white cardigan from Old Navy is my favorite. Grey is my favorite color, and I’m totally crushing on the ruffled collar.

Abby & Elle cardigans

Love this pink beauty, from Talbots.

Abby & Elle cardigans

Teal is a color I don’t have enough of. This one is from Ann Taylor LOFT.

Abby & Elle cardigans

Coral just feels like summer to me.

Abby & Elle cardigans

Love the mother-of-pearl buttons on the sleeves.

Abby & Elle cardigans

This kelly green cardigan is from New York & Company.

Abby & Elle cardigans

OK, I know this cardigan is black, but it’s crocheted and cropped, so I feel like it stands out from my other two.

Abby & Elle cardigans

Leave a comment and let me know which you like best.

Office Redo: Color Explosion!

By Elle

When deciding how to redo the office, my only requirement was that it be bright,  colorful and cheery. No dark, studious space for me.

As you can see from the “before” photos, the room had been painted salmon, and dark curtains covered the windows. We ended up keeping the dark brown carpeting for now, but the plan is to eventually replace it with cork flooring.

Check out our before and after photos and let us know what you think!



Before. As you can see, the room is tiny, and we wanted to make it as bright and airy as possible.


Before. The space looked like a dreary home office — nowhere I’d like to spend a significant length of time. The three windows, however, are an asset we wanted to take advantage of.

Abby & Elle office redo

After! Bright and cheery, just the way I wanted it. (Even though the printer is on the floor….)


The one piece we needed in the office was a bookcase. Found the perfect specimen at our fave store — Antique and Craft Co-op in Painesville — for about $60. I immediately wanted to update the hardware to give it less of a ’70s look. (I’d removed the hardware on the lower right for measurement purposes.)

Abby & Elle office redo

I spray painted the existing hardware with Rustoleum Multicolor Textured spray paint in Caribbean Sand.

Abby & Elle office redo

I kept the large metal backers but replaced the old pulls with new ones from Lowe’s.

Abby & Elle office redo

Ta da! The finished product. We’d considered painting the entire bookcase, but the wood is in great shape, and I rather like how it looks. I especially love how the wall color peeks through the open back.

Abby & Elle office redo

We painted the walls and ceiling Guilford Green, Benjamin Moore’s color of the year for 2015. The inside of the window seat is painted a much deeper green, Dried Thyme from Sherwin-Williams, though it’s often hard to tell the difference because of the lighting.

Abby & Elle office redo

Bought these pillows from Plow & Hearth and Lowe’s with the intention of using them with my new pallet furniture (the topic of a future post!), but they look so dang great on the window seat.

Abby & Elle office redo

I reckon the pillows will spend their summer days outdoors on the pallet furniture and the winters indoors, right here.

Abby & Elle office redo

Enough said!

Abby & Elle office redo

Found this alpaca rug on Craigslist for $40. I love walking into the office and giving my feet a little alpaca love. (If you’ve ever felt alpaca fur, you know what I mean.)

Abby & Elle office redo

We already had the Ekornes chair — it’s actually about 20 years old. (The black and white photo of us in the background hasn’t found its permanent home yet.)

Abby & Elle office redo

Nothing like some silk Gerbera daisies to brighten up a space!

Abby & Elle office redo

All the artwork in the office are photos that we took on our trip to Italy last year.

Abby & Elle office redo

Even though space is tight, I wanted some live plants. I just need to find the perfect plant stand for the croton.

Abby & Elle office redo

I love using metallic accents, especially to make a room look larger. In this case, my metallic accents are only a lamp and a family photo tree that Abby bought for me in, oh, 2012. Just last month, I finally got around to replacing the strangers’ faces with faces of people I actually know. Hurray for progress!

Abby & Elle office redo

Bought four of these cute and colorful metal hooks from World Market ($2 each) originally to use in my closet, but they just seem to fit in the office. (Side note: Abby’s two-year-old picked them up and exclaimed, “Earrings!”)

Abby & Elle office redo

I use two of the hooks on each side of the window seat to hold the cords from the bright white roman shades, which offer the perfect combo of light and privacy, not to mention a clean look.

Abby & Elle office redo

The other two hooks hold scissors (keeps them out of the hands of little ones) and cords. Bought the fun bulletin boards at Pat Catan’s.

Abby & Elle office redo

I LOVE Día de Muertos, so when I saw this switchplate at the Cain Park Arts Festival, I had to have it. My man thought it was perfect, too: “It’s for your office, where you work yourself to death.” Funny guy.

Abby & Elle office redo

These framed photos of us from our trip to Italy weren’t colorful enough to make the main walls.

Abby & Elle office redo

So I centered the two photos above the bookcase.

Abby & Elle office redo

I tried to hide all the junk next to the bookcase and gussy up the space with a photo collage/shelf and whimsical chalkboard.

Abby & Elle office redo

Color. It makes us happy. :)

My New Swimsuit is as Old as My Mother

By Abby

Swimsuit season is in full swing, and I thought I’d mention that being comfortable is more important than having the latest swimwear style. All over the TV, internet and magazines are stick models in the tiniest of bikinis or barely-there one-pieces. swim2
Most women do not look like the models pictured here, so we don’t necessarily look good in the same style swimsuits. I have had the same string bikini since high school and it was time for a change. Since I don’t have the same body I did in high school, I shouldn’t be wearing the same swimsuit. I was uncomfortable in it because it didn’t look good on me anymore.

Continue reading

Room Makeover: Girly & Romantic

By Elle
Because I’m a romantic at heart, I needed a space in my house where I could just let it all flow. One would guess that space would have been the bedroom, but, alas, ’twas not to be. (The master bedroom currently is a lot of black and white, which I like, but we’ll visit that space another time, once it’s been redone.)

So where do I go when I want to feel all cozy and romantic? Why, the upstairs hallway, of course. Actually, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s a beautiful open space that I’ve managed to fill with all sorts of lovely girly-girl things. And I think the hardwood floor looks even richer now that the space has been redone.

Come take a look, and let me know what you think!

foyer up

In this before photo, you’re looking upstairs from the front door. Most of the house was painted in neutral colors when we bought it, which was nice in a way, but we were eager to cover the fleshy tones as well as replace the dated foyer light.


Another before photo. The prior owners gave us the hallway runner, saying that it would be difficult for us to find another that length. Luckily, I like it.

Another before photo. The prior owners gave us the hallway runner, saying that it would be difficult for us to find another that length. Luckily, we like it.


view from front door

An after photo. The Tiffany-style light was my birthday gift, and it was really quite by accident that the new wall colors complement it so well.


view from down the hall

I wanted this space to be cozy and romantic, even if it is just a hallway. The raspberry paint on the back wall is Heart’s Content from Pittsburgh Paints. The paint on the side walls is Bamboo Shoot from Sherwin Williams.


view from downstairs

We wanted the color of the upstairs hallway to pop when you walk through the front door, and Heart’s Content does the job.



Just a little girly touch that I added to the linen closet door handle.



The Victorian art on the walls belonged to my grandmother.



This was my mom’s telephone chair. It used to be bright yellow and had rocker bottoms, but my brother and I took care of that pretty quickly by standing on the backs of the rockers while my mom was in the chair chatting … and yelling at us to get off the rockers because they’d break. She was right.



I refinished this old dresser, which used to be my grandmother’s, and converted the bottom drawer areas into shelves. As you can see, I use the dresser mainly to store extra blankets.


The Rose Dreams artwork on the wall is from a book of sheet music, probably from the early 1900s.

The Rose Dreams artwork on the wall is from a book of sheet music, probably from the early 1900s, which was also my grandmother’s (her photo is in the back).



I bought the decorative birdcage from a thrift store, spray painted it, filled it with an artificial wandering Jew and stuck a clay bird inside. Done.



I can’t believe I’m in love with a hallway.



So I’m unsure about the hallway lights. I have one of these acorn style lights on each end of the hallway. I think they look fine and actually fit the decor, but the man doesn’t think so. Let me know what you think!

Which Fashion Trend Do You Wish Would Come Back?

which fashion trend do you wish would come back?By Elle

Sifting through my formal dresses the other day, I felt a desire for the days when wearing long evening gloves was de rigueur, at least for the well-heeled, of course. For one, they felt luxurious because they were often made from silk, satin and kidskin. (Ouch. The near-vegan in me is wincing.) For two, they’re super sexy, especially with a strapless dress. For three, they’re the perfect accessory if you’re a germaphobe, which I’m not, just for the record. (In fact, I once ate dirt just to say I did it. This was not recently.)

So I thought, yeah, that would be a fashion trend that I’d welcome with open arms.

Then I wondered which fashion trend I would kick to the curb, and that was easy: pointy-toed pumps. Who in real life wears those things? I don’t know about you, but my feet do not resemble slices of pie, unless perhaps I were to detach my feet and put them on backwards.

Anyway, so what about you? Leave a comment and let us know which fashion trend you wish would come back — or one you wish would just disappear!

What to Say When Your Breakfast Matches Your Dress

By Elle

Answer: Well, I don’t have to worry about slopping it all over myself for a change. And, quick, take a photo!

Yeah, so there I was having bfast with my favorite guy and his folks, and I noticed that my oatmeal and fresh fruit concoction if not matched at least complemented my new dress. And because my guy always indulges me, he was happy to snap some photos.

The weather over the holiday weekend was made for a little sundress, and I just happened to have the perfect one. I’d just bought this little number at Ann van h. Boutique earlier in the week and was eager to wear it. (Side note: Ann’s was one of my favorite boutiques in Cleveland. She is closing soon. I don’t have all the details, but hurry on in to get some good deals.)

I dig this dress! I love the bikini design, and the fabric feels delicious. The dress was designed and made by VOLT Design out of Quebec, Canada. Not only is it wearable art, but it’s also reversible. Each side has a different design — that totally removes any angst about getting dressed in the dark, yes? — so you essentially get two dresses in one.

So I didn’t get to wear the dress for long — just long enough to take some photos in the garden. Then it was back to work, weatherproofing and painting the folks’ decks in preparation for Family Reunion 2015. Hope you had a great Fourth, and be sure to leave a comment!

IMG_0171 IMG_0172 IMG_0173 IMG_0176 IMG_0177 IMG_0180 IMG_0185 IMG_0187 IMG_0189