About Diana

(Note: I’ve decided to switch up the order of my weekend posts.  Shopping posts will now be on Sundays, while Shoe Lust and other topics will be on Saturdays)

Caranday Dress by Anthropologie (no longer available online)

One of my readers, Elizabeth, sent me a question about appropriate accessories for a Florida wedding, and I thought that my advice could be useful to others attending spring weddings in warm climates.

Diana,

I have a Florida specific style question I thought you could help me out with. I’m attending a wedding with my boyfriend in Jacksonville in late April. All of his best friends from high school and college will be there (most of whom I’ve never met) and I’d like to make a good impression. However, I have very little idea what sort of wedding this will be and don’t know any other women attending that I can ask. I bought the Caranday Dress on super sale at Anthropologie after Christmas and plan on wearing that (see above).   The sash is attached and a dark gray color. There is enough length to tie it either in the front or the back). I was wondering if you could give me some insider information on Florida trends/weather that would help me know what accessories to add. Will it be too hot for tights? Should I bring a sweater or shawl as a cover up? Are flats okay for an evening wedding with a plated dinner? I’m also hoping not to have to spend too much money on this though I have been wanting a pair of gray shoes anyway. Help!

Elizabeth

The first step I had Elizabeth take was to check the wedding’s website.  Often nowadays the bride and groom will set up a website or blog with information about the wedding, including location, appropriate dress, etc.  We found out that the ceremony will be on the beach, and the reception will be a plated dinner at an outdoor area of a restaurant within walking distance of the ceremony.

The dress that Elizabeth bought is gorgeous, and I think that it will be just fine.  Floridians tend to be pretty casual in general, and I think that this dress is dressy enough for a beach wedding without going over the top.  The weather here can be a bit unpredictable, but more than likely it will be too warm for tights by April.  Honestly it’s been too warm in the past week, and usually by April we’re in full-on Spring, almost Summer.  Generally temps tend to be in the 60s, 70s  and sometimes 80s in April, although the weather is always unpredictable.  Micro-fishnets or lace tights might work for an April wedding, but they probably won’t be necessary, and I wouldn’t recommend legwear any warmer than that.

Since the wedding is in the evening, it would be a good idea to bring a shawl or light, cropped cardigan to keep your shoulders warm.  Everything is outdoors, so you won’t have to worry about frigid air-conditioning.  Night-time at the beach often means a light sea-breeze, which can be a bit chilly.

A basic pashmina in a coordinating color (or contrasting for a bit of fun!) would be lovely.  A light cotton cardigan would also be wonderful for keeping shoulders warm.  Stick with a cropped length, because they are generally more flattering with dresses than longer lengths.

Favourite Cropped Cardigan, Boden, $58

I would say that it’s better to have some kind of heel or wedge since this is an evening wedding.  You can get away with flat strappy sandals at a beach wedding, but having a slight heel looks a bit dressier.  Since the wedding is on the beach, a chunky heel or a wedge is best.  Beach sand is pretty soft, and thin heels will sink in.  Also, avoid suede, because it is possible that the sand might be wet.  Wearing shoes with a strappy design and an open toe is a good idea, because it is inevitable that sand will get in your shoes, and wearing a more open shoe makes it easier to get the sand out.  It’s also good if the shoe is easy to take on and off, because it’s possible that some people may go barefoot for the ceremony.

Basically any comfortable, wedge sandal in white, grey or silver should work fine.  Strappy sandals are always popular in Florida, and I think that they can look a bit dressier than other varieties of shoes for this occasion.

Dansko Sissy Sandal in White $66.24 on Amazon (on sale)


indigo by Clarks Plover Sandal in Steel Blue $99.95 on Amazon (on sale)

For other accessories, I would recommend some elegant, understated jewelry such as a strand of pearls and some light silver bangles.  Add a simple clutch to all this, and the outfit would be all set for a lovely Florida beach wedding.

Scarlatti Sonata Pearl Necklace  $38 (on sale)

Coryell Design

Bangle Trio Set  $36

Jill Popowich Designs

Vintage Wicker Lesco Lona Handbag   $25

Ancestor Vintage

Have you ever been to a beach wedding?  What did you wear?


The weather is definitely warming up.  This was the first day where I started with tights and then had to ditch them.  While I’m happy that it’s spring, I have mixed emotions.  It feels great to not have to wear four layers just to leave the house, but at the same time, I feel so exposed without all my winter layers.  I know I’ll get used to it.  Spring is wonderful and bittersweet at the same time, because it means that my boots, tights and sweaters will once again be hidden in the back of my closet til October.

But the weather is so beautiful right now; I can’t stay grumpy for long.  We only get a few weeks of spring here in Florida before the brutal summer temps start to hit, so I want to enjoy these glorious days in the 60s and 70s while I can.  It is wonderful to be able to wear a light cardigan and have bare legs.  Soon it will be so hot, that I will be sweating like crazy after standing outside for five minutes.

I guess I’m just really mixed on my weather preferences.  Maybe I should live somewhere like San Diego.  The weather was so fantastic there when I visited back in October.  But then I would probably miss Florida.  I guess the grass is always greener.

Still, I’m feeling great, and I’m so excited to start my new job next week.  It will be so great to finally have a regular job with regular hours (and regular pay!).  I’d always fought the concept of a 9 – 5 (or in this case, 7 – 4) job but right now, I think that consistency is what I really need.  One day, I would love to own my own business (a vintage shop maybe?  or start an indie clothing line? or be a professional photographer?) but for now, this is really, really what I need.

How do you feel about the changing of the seasons?  What would your ideal climate be?

Dress: Ella Moss (via My Mosh Posh)
Cardigan: Anthropologie
Shoes: Dansko Sally (courtesy of Dansko)
Purse: Vintage via Advintagous
Ring: Belonged to my grandmother
Earrings: Coryell Design

Quote: Do Like Kyla (Orchard Paperbacks) by Angela Johnson


On Sunday, I rode bikes with my boyfriend and some friends of ours up to a local farmer’s market.  It was a beautiful spring day, and the market was a lot of fun.  I found some delicious produce, local honey and organic coffee.  There were also several local jewelry vendors that I plan on checking out later.  I  kept my outfit simple and casual.  I don’t wear my Chucks too often anymore, but I still love them for casual weekend outings.

It feels so good to be able to support local businesses, and it was a lot of fun to meet up with family and friends too.  Plus, they had  some super tasty food vendors.

It’s great to get back on my bike again too.  It languished during the winter, when I was too wimpy to deal with the cold in anything other than a heated car.  Now that the weather is warming up, I definitely want to do a lot of riding.

Do you like to get around on your bike in the spring and summer?  Do you have local markets that you like to go to?

Tee: Style & Co (via clothing swap)
Jeans: Gap Curvy (altered by me)
Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylors
Purse: Timbuk2
Necklace: Jorgensen Studio
Bangle: Vintage

Quote: Tin Lizzie, by Allan Drummond


Last Friday was absolutely awesome.  Kate from A Tale of Two Closets was in Florida, so I met up with her in downtown Sarasota for an awesome afternoon of thrifting and yarn shopping.  We went to SPARCC Treasure Chest and Mustard Seed Thrift Shop, and had some awesome finds (you can see mine in my shopping plan post).  After that, we went to Picasso’s Moon and bought some beautiful fiber.  Kate bought her first spindle, and I taught her the basics of spinning.

It was such an awesome, fun day.  This was the first time I had ever met a fellow blogger in person.  Kate and I had a great time talking about life, style, knitting and kitschy Florida decorating.

Have you ever met a blog-friend in real life?  What did you do together?

Blouse: Anthropologie
Cardigan: Ann Taylor LOFT
Jeans: Express
Shoes: Dansko Sally (courtesy of Dansko)
Purse: Timbuk2
Necklace: Garage sale
Bangles: Jill Popowich Designs

Quote: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett


After last week, I had $68 left in my shopping budget for the month, plus $90 in unspent birthday money.  I got some awesome new things this week with it.

First off, two fabulous new things that didn’t cost me anything.

Yellow Jade necklace from Mei Mei’s Jewels
Gift from my boyfriend

Gap filled: Colorful necklaces

This beautiful yellow necklace was a birthday gift from my boyfriend.  I’ve really been lacking on bright and colorful necklaces, so this will help to fill that gap.

B.U.M. jacket, gift from To Much Information

Gap filled: Mid-weight structured jacket

Nurmiusr of To Much Information sent me this jacket that didn’t fit her, and I love it.  I own hardly any jackets, so this will be very useful on those days when I need a little extra warmth.

On Friday, I went shopping in Sarasota with Kate.  It was a lot of fun, and we both found some really great stuff.  I’ll go into more detail on Monday, but here I’d like to show off the awesome stuff I got.

We started off by going to SPARCC Treasure Chest.  This is a really great thrift/antique store with reasonable prices and a pretty broad selection.  The proceeds from sales all go to the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, which helps women who are victims of domestic violence of sexual assault.  I had my best finds of the day at this store.

Dress: Ann Taylor, $12
Brooch: $11
Grey belt: $4
Leopard Belt: $6

Gaps filled: Semi-formal dress; brooches, belts

I picked this dress off the rack, and almost immediately put it back.  It’s a size smaller than what I usually wear, so I assumed it wouldn’t fit.  I decided to try it on anyway, because it was so lovely.  It fit perfectly, and when I saw that it was only $12, I knew that I had to get it.  I don’t have many dresses for quasi-formal occasions, so this will fill that gap perfectly.  I’m thinking about dyeing it darker, making it a little more blue-purple.  Anyone have tips for dyeing silk?  Has anyone ever had a dry cleaner dye a dress before?

I also got those two belts and a brooch, because you can never have too many belts and brooches.

Purple Blouse: Target, $3
Teal Necklace: $6
Brown purse: Axcess by Liz Claiborne, $7

Gaps filled: 3/4 sleeve blouses, colorful necklaces, brown purse

Right next door to SPARCC was Mustard Seed Thrift shop.  This was totally the type of thrift store I picture in my mind when I think of thrift stores located in areas with lots of retirees.  There were equal amounts of crazy kitsch and super awesome stuff.  I found this lovely purple cotton/modal blouse.  Technically it’s a maternity blouse, but I’ve hemmed it and taken the sides in a bit since this picture, so you can’t really tell.  I am so in love with that teal necklace, and I think I’ll be wearing it a lot.  The brown purse fills the gap of a brown “leather” purse.  I’ve been looking for one for a long time.  I’m not ecstatic about the fact that this one isn’t real leather, but I love everything else about it: the shape, the pockets, the adorable polka dot lining.  Even though it’s not leather, I’ll be using this one for awhile.

So I spent a total of  $49, this week, leaving me with a total of $19 for the rest of the month, plus my birthday money.

(Note:  I just got a new job this week, and my original plan allowed me to increase the amount I’m allowed to spend per month to $200 once I got a full-time job.  I’m going to wait until next month to increase the amount, since I won’t get my first paycheck until then.  For now, I’m only raising it to $175, because this job only lasts until June.  That will still give me enough extra money to start adding to my professional wardrobe.)


I have some very exciting news to share: I got a job!  Starting in a few weeks, I’m going to be working as a media specialist (school librarian).  The position only goes until the end of the school year, but it puts me in a very good place to get a permanent position in the next school year.  I’m so excited, and a bit nervous too!  I’m not sure yet how it will affect my blogging.  I plan to continue posting at the same rate, but I probably won’t be able to comment on other blogs as often as I have in the past.  I’m going to be diligent in setting aside some specific time to devote solely to blogging, so hopefully I can stay on track.  Also, I’m planning on buying a lap top, which will help me stay on top of things.

It was spring break at the college that I work at this week, so I got up the courage to take pictures in a semi-public place, this neat H2O sculpture (see how they look like atoms? or whatever the proper term is) by the science buildings.  I got a few strange looks from professors, and one guy on a golf cart asked me what I was doing.  I just said that I was working on a project, which is the easiest answer to give when on a college campus, and we got into a friendly discussion about cameras.  It felt so empowering to take pictures where people could actually see me, as opposed to my usually habit of finding deserted and empty areas.

These are my new Gap curvy jeans, and I am in love.  I altered the leg to make them into straight-legged jeans following my tutorial.  I’m planning on nipping in the waist a bit too, just so they can fit without a belt.  They’re so soft, and the dark premium denim wash is gorgeous.  A word of warning though – the dye on washes like this will rub off on things like light colored purses.  Usually it’s easy to clean off.

Do you feel awkward taking pictures of yourself where others can see you?

Blouse: Ann Taylor LOFT (thrifted)
Cardigan: Ann Taylor LOFT
Jeans: Gap Curvy (altered by me)
Shoes: Born Codder
Purse: Morelle Truffle
Short Pearls: Coryell Design
Long Pearls: Garage sale
Cuff: Via Classy Consignments

Quote: No Talking, by Andrew Clements


I really loved this outfit.  It was soft, cozy and comfortable.  I always find pale blue very calming, and I love how wonderfully it combined with brown and a pop of yellow.  It was the perfect thing for a busy, unpredictable day of work.

I know I keep saying this, but I’m trying to enjoy my winter items in the last few weeks that I’m able to.  Unfortunately, Florida tends to skip Spring and go straight into Summer, so even this was a bit too warm to wear by late afternoon.  Highs have been in the 70s this week, and I know that it will be even hotter in a few weeks.

At the same time, I’m happily embracing the transition to Spring.  The air feels fresh, the sun feels warm, and it’s so nice to let my toes breathe.  I didn’t realize just how much I love to go barefoot until this long cold spell we had here this winter.  I guess you don’t always appreciate what you have until you have to go without it for awhile.

What do you love best about this time of year, as Spring is fast approaching?

Tank: Old Navy
Cardigan: Anthropologie
Trousers: Worthington
Shoes: Dansko Sally (courtesy of Dansko)
Scarf: Anthropologie
Purse: Vintage (via Advintagous)

Quote: Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words: From Accessories to Zany, by Jane O’Connor


After winning a free pair of We Love Colors tights, I was eager to put together an outfit incorporating them.  Because the tights are so bright and saturated, I decided to keep the rest of the outfit to simple black and white, with an additional touch of green in the necklace.

This outfit was a lot of fun to wear.  I admit, wearing the tights made me feel just a bit 80′s, but I think since the rest of the outfit was simple, they worked fine.  These tights are insanely awesome!  These are the nylon/microfiber tights, and I can see myself by many, many pairs.  They are thick, opaque, soft, and best of all, the waist-band fits but doesn’t feel constricting.  With 51 colors to choose from, what’s not to love?

What do you think of colored tights?  Are they just a passing trend, or are they here to stay?

Dress: Express
Cardigan: Ann Taylor LOFT
Belt: Anthropologie
Necklace: Pixisette
Bangles: Jill Popowich
Tights: We Love Colors, Scout Green
Boots: Dansko Risa (via eBay)

Quote: You’re Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete Children, by Dr. Seuss


Sometimes, a fallback combination with a few new elements makes for the perfect, last-minute outfit.  I’ve worn this sweater, pair of jeans and boots together before.  Last week, I mixed it up a bit by layering a gray graphic tee underneath, and adding pops of dark pink in my sakura necklace and ring.  This outfit was very comfy, but still put together enough for work.

The weather has started to hit a turning point, so I’m trying to get as much wear as possible out of my cashmere sweaters and leather boots.  Soon it will be too warm to wear them (except maybe in over air-conditioned offices).  I’ve already noticed my shopping and browsing habits shifting.  There’s not a lot of point in my buying any new sweaters or boots right now, when I won’t be able to wear them regularly again until October.  I know that a lot of the best sales on winter items happen right now, but on a budget as tight as mine, I prefer to buy things I can wear sooner rather than later.

Have you already started mentally shifting into Spring?  Do you tend to purchase items that you can wear in the current season, or do you go for the off-season deals?

Sweater: J Crew (via eBay)
Tee: Style & Co (via clothing swap)
Jeans: Express
Boots: Dansko Nena (via eBay)
Necklace: Jorgensen Studio
Ring: From my mom

Quote: The OK Book, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld


Well, okay, if you want a million bucks, you probably won’t find it on Etsy (well, actually…).  But if you want a sterling silver necklace with a cat pendant, I can pretty much guarantee you there will be something.  Ditto for a purple vintage scarf.  But how do you find these items amidst the vast collection on Etsy?  That’s what this post is here to help you with.  While there’s no guarantee that you’ll always find exactly what you’re looking for on Etsy, these tips can help you come closer to what your little heart desires.

  • Embrace Treasuries and Gift Guides: I love looking at treasuries, which consist of items handpicked by an Etsian based on a specific theme, much like my Etsy Love sets.  There is always a treasury displayed on the front page, with delightfully beautiful items.  I’ve found many of my favorite sellers through treasuries.  One thing I love doing is checking out the shop of an item that I’m drawn to in a treasury.  Gift Guides are another great place to look if you’re browsing.  Showcase is a daily set created by sellers, and another place to find some good stuff.
  • Try Etsy’s Various Search Tools: Etsy has many search tools to offer you, although I’ve had varied success with them.  The Colors search lets you search for items by color, but it doesn’t often find what I’m looking for.  Instead, you might want to search for items tagged with a color, such as navy.  Pounce lets you find shops that just opened or items that just sold.  Shop Local lets you find shops in a specific city.  The Time Machine lets you see items as they’re being listed.  Sometimes, I love watching the time machine slowly scroll through new items while listening to podcasts.
  • Browse through your favorites:  I am favoriting items on Etsy constantly, and I always have at least 30 pages of favorites at any given time.  I love browsing through them and looking at other items sold in the shops.  Often, you might find a gorgeous gem that you favorited months ago and had completely forgotten about.  Don’t forget to look back through your favorite sellers too.
  • Use Advanced Search:  Being a library science graduate, I love advanced search tools.  Etsy’s is very effective.  You can choose between the categories of Handmade, Vintage, Supplies or all three.  You can choose what section of handmade items you want to search, from jewelry to needlecraft.  You can search by tags, titles, etc.  You can set price limits.  You can change how the items are sorted.
    • So here’s an example of how I would use advance search.  Let’s say I wanted to find a handknit purple scarf in merino wool.  In the search terms box, I will type “purple merino scarf”.  I’ll be searching for handmade items in the knitting category.  I want to search tags and titles.  I’m willing to pay between $1 and $60.  This will limit my results to items that fit within these parameters, and it will be much easier to look through than a general search for “purple scarf”.
  • Be willing to spend some time browsing: When I create Etsy Love sets, I usually start out with a keyword search, such as “leather clutch” and then browse through 20 + pages of hits before finding what I’m looking for.  It can be a bit tiresome to look though so  many pages, but there are lots and lots of items on Etsy, and sometimes the best way to find what you really want is browsing through many, many pages of listings.  When browsing, look for quality images, because that is often the sign of a serious seller.

What’s your favorite search tip for Etsy?

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