April Wiencek, aka the blogger “The Tipsy Housewife,” is known for the colorful photos and beautiful presentation of her original recipes. Once she realized that how she presented herself to the world didn’t always live up to the vibrancy of her posts, she turned to Dia&Co. She’s since built herself a “pantry” of mix-and-match styles to take her career to the next level.
I come from a very foodie family. My grandfather owned a restaurant and, in the summertime, I would work there with him. I was always in charge of salad—you know, something a kid could do, because I was literally six years old and going to the restaurant at five o’clock in the morning. My mom was a caterer and my dad loved to cook. My dad would take family recipes and learn how to make them to keep those traditions alive.
In high school, I got a job working at a grocery store chain here in Chicago. They let me have creative freedom with making the deli trays, sandwiches, and salads. I then worked for the Chicago Park District for 16 years teaching cooking classes recreationally. I worked for a celebrity chef for a couple of years and he had a not-for-profit where we taught low-income children how to cook healthier and more affordable meals. Seeing people come together over food—it became a passion of mine. In my personal life, I started putting pictures on Facebook and saying, “Oh, I made this for dinner,” and people would be like, “What’s the recipe? What’s the recipe?”
Two and a half years ago, I started “The Tipsy Housewife” Instagram and blog. The next thing I knew, I had 10,000 followers. Now I have 18,000 followers. My blog started out getting a couple hundred people a month and now I get 150,000 a month. I think it’s because of the relatable posts and my history of working with food. My grandfather’s restaurant was in a small farm town in Ohio, so it wasn’t anything super gourmet—it was just classic food. My whole goal is to get people to feel comfortable cooking. Even if they get five recipes down, and they make those same five recipes every week, the fact that they are cooking is something that was always important to me. My recipes are appealing to somebody who’s really into cooking and they’re also appealing to somebody who’s maybe never cooked before.
My food and my photography are very vibrant and cheerful. My home where I write is also very positive and outgoing—I don’t think my clothes were matching that. You have a certain persona in mind that you come across as, and my clothes didn’t always mimic that same vibrant personality that I have online. I wanted to stand out, like with earrings and bling. I love anything that has a glitter to it, bright colors, and pieces that are very sparkly. Bold, statement pieces. That kind of look.
As a chef, I have always worn a uniform at work. I never had to have a wardrobe. I would think that it’s pretty common for other people who cook for a living to not really have tons of great outfits because you spend most of your time in a T-shirt, chef’s coat, or apron with your hair tied back. But when you’re a creative person, it comes through on different levels of your life. I have always wanted to be as expressive in my style as my cooking, but it ended up only coming out through my shoes, jewelry, and handbags because clothes seemed like such a chore. Before I discovered Dia&Co, I would wait until I had an event to attend and rush out to a store a day or so beforehand and buy anything that looked nice enough, but more importantly, fit. I hated shopping for clothes because I would see all these people of all sizes in these cute, put-together outfits and I always felt out of place because I had no idea where to even start.
Now that my cooking life is a lot more visible to a wider audience, I want to look cute and feel good in my clothes and be able to get creative with putting outfits together. When you feel more confident in the way you present yourself, you’re more up for participating in events because you don’t feel like you don’t fit in, or like you don’t have a thing to wear. There have been a few things that I’ve actually said no to, like a dinner with a chef, because I wouldn’t have time to go buy something to wear so I can feel comfortable in that setting. Now I feel like I’ve gotten rid of that problem. I just got my second Dia Box and I kept everything in it. I’ve worn the one dress I received to four different events, and it’s been awesome just to be able to grab it, put it on, and feel good about it.
Before Dia&Co, I didn’t have the right ingredients or components to put my style together. It’s like building a kitchen pantry. When you’re building a pantry, you want to have your staples for every recipe: cooking oils, sauce starters, spices, seasonings, flour, salt, sugar, etc. You want to be able to build a basic recipe with the things you have on hand. Sometimes you want to make something a little different, so you may branch out and buy a spice or an herb you don’t use on a daily basis. The same is true for clothing. Some well-fitting pants are like the salt and pepper in your pantry. Same as a great cocktail dress or little black dress—it’s like having flour, sugar, and salt on hand. Buying a bright-colored top to go with those pants, or some fun shoes to go with the LBD, that’s like that special spice or herb you get for a fun new recipe that may not be an everyday thing.
The next step for me is branching out more in both my style and my cooking. I want to take some of the great pieces Dia&Co has sent me and find some different things to mix and match with the clothes I have been sent. I want to pick some pieces for myself from the Dia&Co site, or even at other stores, and add some summer flair to my wardrobe. I’d also like to start doing more recipes featuring fresh fish. It’s something totally outside my comfort zone, but I think it will be a fun and delicious way to incorporate some flair into my cooking as well.