Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Amazing warm weather vacation, and the craziest temperature transition ever! And, How to Wear DIY!

We're back from sunny, humid, 80's-temp Florida, where we had a wonderful week of time with relatives and living like retired people (fishing off the dock in the back yard, taking the boat out in the middle of a Wednesday, drinking wine at lunch (husband, anyway)... it was fab.

We had to hurry home for husband's Thursday and Friday night classes, but turns out, Portland is undergoing the craziest snow storm in several years and it was a small miracle that we were able to get home from the airport in it (took 3 hours, and all we had was our Florida clothes in the 19 degree weather)--needless to say, classes were canceled both days and turns out if we had known the future we could still be in Florida, not missing class but missing this insane weather! Oh, well. My office is closed today and the company winter party scheduled for tomorrow is also canceled. This means, essentially... we are STILL on vacation! Sweet! (Gotta love the out of office email reply! I've been pretty disconnected all week!)

But back to winter in Florida. Daydream a little with me, eh?

We started out in Orlando, where one of my cousins lives (my aunt and uncle split their time between a lovely home in their daughter's neighborhood, Baldwin Park, and a waterfront home near my other cousin in St. Petersburg)... we got to meet both cousins' 2-year-olds, and have a relaxing day enjoying the New Urbanist, redeveloped neighborhood.

We then headed out to the St. Petersburg home for some more relaxing, this time with dolphins jumping in the channel of the Tampa Bay that their home backs up on. We saw dolphins 3 or 4 times (once on the boat around the bay), with them even swimming under the dock beneath our feet!

That's Herald, the heron that frequents their house. We fed him some small fish that we caught (we learned to fish!) and saw him every day!

This was the first big vacation we've done in a while with my husband and my mom and dad. So so nice to relax with all of them!

How amazing to wake up with this beautiful view outside the screen porch every morning! Soooooo peaceful.

We did a loop at a very cool nature preserve near Bradenton, too. So much (and so different) wildlife in Florida! Crabs and crazy birds and big fish...

Back at the St. Pete house, here is just one of the many dolphin photos I took. There were four of them, little ones (babies?) jumping and playing together outside on the second morning. We would hear the big splashes, then run out and look, and call back "Dolphins!" to everyone inside the house! Family dolphin-watching time.

We took my uncle's boat out on the bay...

I got the front seat, so this was my view!

We met some other relatives at Mazzaro's Italian Market, a super cool place in St. Petersburg. It was packed around lunchtime and we had fun exploring the shelves and olives (and entire wine and cheese room) and got some delicious sandwiches (hold the bread) from the deli counter. And I got to pull out my favorite dress from last summer--the little white dress with eyelet panels! So, for the How to Wear DIY portion of this recap... ;)
Bag: Old Navy. Sunnies and necklace: F21. Belt: Target via Goodwill. Watch and sandals: Ross.
Dress: DIY, here!

We also got to visit the Dali Museum. I'd been once before, in 2009, but I don't remember it being this big and beautiful! And it was cool to show husband, who hadn't been before.

Later, on our way back toward Orlando before going home, we went to Columbia, an incredible Cuban restaurant in Ybor City near Tampa. My mom had gone there in high school/college, and it's still there--the flagship location, takes up a whole city block and includes 15 dining rooms and seats 1,700 people! There are now a lot of them across Florida. Great food and great experience, especially in this very cool, very old building.

And then we went back to Orlando and had a nice dinner with my cousin before heading home again. My parents are still there, doing more cool Florida things while I sit in my house with 6" of snow outside and adjust to the crazy shift in scenery. Isn't this snow insane?! It was so cool to have a break from it, but remembering now that spring and warm temps here are still a long ways away!


  1. Wow, what a shock for you to have to return to the snow! How nice it must have been to be warm in Florida. That Cuban restaurant looks so lovely. And dolphins! How cool!

  2. It sounds like you had a great time! I'll have to check out the restaurant next time I'm in Ybor and I didn't know dolphins were in Tampa Bay - so cool!

  3. I got to live on a small island in Florida for a few months, it was a totally different experience then living in Winnipeg or Portland. The colors and architecture are so beautiful and the wildlife is way different. Must have been a total shocker to come back to this winter wonderland, but at least you got to extend your time off a little bit :)

  4. This makes me miss Florida a lot. I lived there for 14 years! I lived in Bradenton for awhile, so it's cool that you got to explore the area. - Leah, leahwise.com

  5. You picked the PERFECT time for a warm weather vacation. I am making mental notes of this for next year. We went to Palm Springs in early December and I think it was too early. I was still enjoying the cold weather, but about now I could use a little vitamin D. Sorry to hear about your rough trip back! It must have been QUITE the shocker. If only you had stayed in Florida a FEW more days, it would have been timed perfectly. Although, this show is pretty fun!

  6. Sounds like a relaxing vacation. You hit some of the special gems of our area. I love Mazzaros, it is not to be missed. The Columbia is a very special place, steeped in history. The owner is a very kind and generous man who gives back to the community a tremendous amount, and is so good to his employees. Tell your parents if they are still here late spring to look for the opening of a new restaurant venture of his called Ulele. It is an urban redevelopment project along the river front area of Tampa.

  7. Very cool, thanks for the inside info! I hope we make it back there in the next couple years, will have to check it out!

  8. Yes, in some ways we get the best of both! I get so tired of winter in Oregon after a few months, great to have the sun!

  9. I've never been to Florida and have never really wanted to visit because of the humidity - but these pictures reallllllly make me want to go! Glad you had such a great time! So crazy to come home to all of this snow and such... its not like we are in the valley at all.

  10. Beautiful images, Suzannah! I especially love the one of Herald - I find it very calming. Reading your post is such a relief from the weather we are having here at home right now, that's for sure.

  11. Cannot believe you ended up coming back to what apparently is the worst winter in 5 years! I'm more dumbfounded by the reaction to snow, but am enjoying a very rare break from medical school! Can't get up the hill in this weather!

  12. I am sooo jelly! We are snow-packed in Kansas City right now! I love that neon belt detail. Everything looks so cute. I think you've done a hair post before (maybe?) but I'd love a hair tutorial on how you keep your hair healthy and style it!

  13. It looks like such a fabulous vacation, a nice getaway from winter to warm up and get to wear pretty dresses just for a little bit!

  14. Aaw, thanks! I haven't talked much about hair styling but I did share my no-chemical washing method here. http://www.adventuresindressmaking.com/2013/06/how-to-wash-hair-with-no-shampoo-or-conditioner.html#.Uvrx3fldV8E Although I'm using a different method now! I'll have to post sometime!

  15. Yeah it's rare here! I remember it being this bad at Christmas 2008 for about a week and in early January 2004. We freak out when this happens!!

  16. The humidity is pretty icky!! But we got used to it after only a day or so, and when it was only in the 70's and 80's it wasn't too terrible. Totally worth it if you want to see the amusement parks or beaches!

  17. Vacation is name of warm weather because vacation come in summer and mostly tourist enjoy the summer vacation with full of passion and i hope you will also do enjoy in this summer i am at the tour of bus knoxville to new york...



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