Saturday Morning Fun with Friends

When a dear colleague of mine told us she was moving to the East Coast to pursue an amazing job opportunity, our first thought was “we need to throw you a party!” Now that Northeast Ohio is finally warming up after an exceptionally cold winter and spring season, we decided to do an outdoor get-together–an outdoor tea party to be exact!

A traditional tea calls for finger sandwiches, sweets, pretty cups and saucers, flowers and of course—hats. So off we went to Studio St. Marie in Rocky River, OH, to see what we could find. The studio is owned by Lee St. Marie, a former high school teacher. She has been making hats for the past ten years and can often be found in New York, London and Paris purchasing straw and felt bases to which she adds fabrics and embellishments.

We went first thing Saturday morning and had the store to ourselves for a while. Lee helped the three of us try on a number of different hats and gave advice as to the best way to wear each. She had so many beautiful choices it was difficult to decide on just one. But in the end, we all did manage to find something that made us happy. Stay tuned for pics from our tea party, which will most likely be scheduled in June.



Resale/Thrift Shopping Tips: My Blog Post at

By Amy Moore (guest blogger) I used to shop for clothes and accessories almost exclusively at retail stores, but that all changed when I embarked on a health journey and lost 70 pounds. In the process, I went from plus-size clothing (1X, size 18-20) to a size 6, which meant that I had to replace […]

via How to get designer styles at bargain prices — Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design

Art Deco and the Rose Iron Works


art deco

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the Rose Iron Works is one of the oldest decorative metal works in the United States and may be best known for its iconic art deco screen called “Muse with Violin.” I was thrilled to see this piece in person–and other art deco wares–as part of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s “The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s” exhibit.

The original design was the creation of Rose Iron Works chief designer and Parisian Paul Feher, who along with Martin Rose (the forge founder) is credited with the 5-foot-square wrought-iron screen. The screen is centered around a gold-plated figure of a nude woman (rumored to be Parisian dance hall performer Josephine Baker) who holds a violin and is surrounded by decorative foliage and musical imagery.

Historians believe that Rose and Fehér were inspired by the design and construction of Severance Hall, which features Art Deco and French Art Nouveau elements in its interior. Displaying the screen was Rose’s hope of promoting his business in the face of the deepening economic depression caused by the stock market crash of 1929. The screen was first exhibited in 1930 at the Cleveland Museum of Art and has become one of the most well-known images associated with the Jazz Age.

The Jazz Age exhibit as a whole is stunning but is only here at the Museum of Art until mid January 2018. If you are in the area, this is a must see! Tickets are $15 for nonmembers.

art deco 2


What to Eat Wednesday: Cranberries

When you think about fresh cranberries, the first thing that comes to mind is probably cranberry sauce or relish–and that’s definitely a Thanksgiving staple in our house every year (see first recipe below). But the cranberry harvest season here in the United States is short (September through mid-November), so if you want them, now is the time to grab a few bags. Luckily, there are other yummy ways to cook with (dried) cranberries all year long. Below are three recipes that my family enjoys making–quick, easy, foolproof. (My daughter just made the cookies last weekend–the combination of white chocolate and berry flavor was amazing!) Enjoy.


Super quick and easy Cranberry-apple relish from Williams Sonoma


White chocolate, cranberry pecan cookies from Taste of Home


Orange cranberry quick bread from Girl Meets Kitchen

How Do You Hygge?


Hygge–pronounced “hoo-ga”–is a Danish concept that encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being that one experiences by enjoying the simple things in life. So it is just as much as an attitude or mindset as it is something that you do.

Put another way, hygge is “the art of creating warmth, comfort and well-being through connection, treasuring the moment, and surrounding yourself with things you love.” (Quote from The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg)

The Danish should know all about contentment and well-being as they are consistently rated as the happiest people in the world. And that is intriguing as their winters are cold and dark–something I can relate to living in Cleveland, Ohio. It seems as if we go through most of December, January and February with dreary and overcast skies. During this time, I miss seeing the sun and feeling its warmth on my skin and tend to fall into the wintertime blues.

Now that the cold weather is here, I decided to try hygge-ing to see if can help me embrace the unique aspects of the coming winter months. I’ve used a number of sources below to explain what it all entails:


Create a comfortable home. According to, “Reading a book by the fire with a hot drink is hygge. So is eating homemade baked goods while watching TV under a mountain of blankets. You can never have enough blankets, pillows, warm socks, hot drinks, or cuddling with your pet or significant other. Avoid large, empty rooms, as well as spaces that look cold.”

Light candles. According to Culture , “The Danes light more candles per head than anywhere else in Europe and it’s not hard to see why. The warm glow of a candle simply can’t be replaced by artificial lighting; it’s about creating an inviting atmosphere and developing a soft, kinder form of light that’s perfect for relaxing and socialising – two things the Danes do best.” The Danes use unscented candles, but any kind will do.

Visit with friends and family. “Companionship and friendliness are essential aspects of hygge,” says Lifehacker, “and the Danish believe maintaining strong social connections are good for the soul.

There are two ways to go about hygge-style gatherings. First, you can organize regular, relaxed meetups with friends or family at someone’s home with snacks, treats, and delicious drinks. Helen Russell, the author of The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country, suggests these gatherings are about nothing more than indulging and having a nice time. So invite your friends over, have some cake, coffee, cider, donuts, or whatever you like, and just spend time chatting in your cozy living room and enjoying each other’s company. The more often you do this the better.”

Get outside. Going for a long walk, even by yourself, is hygge. Enjoy activities that you can do only in the winter months…ice skating, skiing, sledding, building a snowman. Just be sure to dress warmly–jacket, pair of gloves, boots, hats, snow pants, whatever you need to feel comfortable for an hour or two.

Practice gratitude. An article in reports that “Hygge and gratitude go hand in hand. The philosophy entails feeling thankful for the little things, like a bike ride on a beautiful day, or a cup of hot chocolate, or re-watching your favorite movie. ‘Research shows that people who feel grateful are not only happier but also more helpful and forgiving and less materialistic,’ says Wiking. ‘It’s all about savoring simple pleasures.’”

Make time to unplug and relax, especially over the holidays. Be kind to yourself and others. And remember, there is no wrong way to practice hygge–it is mainly about enjoying a good moment.



For a great article on hygge by the New Yorker, go here. The New York Times published a review on recently published hygge books here. One more nice post on hygge-ing can be found here.