Life Update: Moving Forward

The other day, I was standing outside in the five degree sunrise with Kona and it dawned on me that we’ve turned a corner. After living for months and months on constant alert, the new year arrived and with it a sense of normalcy. While we’re busier than ever, and while there are still nights where I just want to have a bowl of cereal for dinner and be done with it, we’re not stuck in quicksand anymore. And we’ve come into this new period feeling so, so grateful.

As you may have already guessed, we postponed our trip to Hawaii in order to be near James’ dad after he took a spill and ended up with his second brain injury of 2014. I was briefly depressed about this change of plans, but then we realized that there are a lot of pros to going later. We’ll be done with the cold and desperately seeking an escape by then. And when we get back in early April, we’ll be thisclose to spring’s arrival. We also got to extend our trip by a few days, with stopovers in Portland on both ends.

We’re all healthy again. James’ dad is doing amazingly well. Last week no one could remember where the eyeglass repair kit was at their house, but he chimed in, “It’s in the second drawer in the laundry room!” Then he looked at me and said, “And they think I’m having memory problems. Ha!”

So now it’s time to start planning for more fun this year. While I was driving today, I heard an ad for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and thought about the possibility of going to Tanglewood for the 4th of July. When there’s space in your mind to think about summer in January, things must be going well.

How are things on your end?

Love, Joy

Simple Recipe: Pineapple Strawberry Palmiers

Pineapple Strawberry Palmiers

When my sister and I were kids, my mom used to make these pineapple strawberry palmiers for us to share with our classmates on Valentine’s Day. They were always gobbled up within seconds. So when Maggie taught me how to make palmiers a few weeks ago, a flood of happy (and sweet) memories came rushing back and I knew I had to share this recipe with you.

With the help of store-bought puff pastry, these little desserts are a snap to make. Crisp, flaky cookie with pineapple cream cheese and a strawberry on top? I don’t really know how you could go wrong.

Pineapple Strawberry Palmiers


1 sheet puff pastry
1 block cream cheese
1 can crushed pineapple (8 oz.)
Strawberries (sliced thinly)


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle a cutting board with sugar and lay the thawed puff pastry on top of it. Sprinkle more sugar on top of the puff pastry. Use a rolling pin to flatten the pastry a little. This gets the sugar nice and embedded into the dough.

2. Take one edge of the pastry and roll it toward the middle do the same with the other side. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, stir together the cream cheese and pineapple. If you can find pineapple cream cheese, even better! That’s what my mom uses but for some reason it’s more readily available in Hawaii than in Massachusetts. (No idea why!) Slice your strawberries.

4. Take your puff pastry out of the fridge and slice it into quarter-inch pieces. Place about two inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake for about six minutes, turn, and bake for about six more minutes. Oven temperatures vary, so keep your eye on them. They should be golden brown when they’re ready.

5. Assemble: spread a dallop of pineapple cream cheese on the cookie. Top with two slices of strawberry.

P.S. Want more easy peasy recipes? Right this way!

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Whole Foods Market South End Grand Opening (And a Giveaway)!

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

My Whole Foods Market love story started with their quaint little location in Brighton, Massachusetts, when I first moved here for graduate school. I loved the way the produce shelves were always fully stocked – the kale facing out like fluffy bouquets and the apples perfectly ripened and piled high. Everything looked like art, or like the orderly grocery stores in picture books.

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

I was invited to a sneak peek of the new Whole Foods Market in Boston’s South End last week, and I have to tell you, I’m more smitten than ever! Now the South End, Chinatown, Fort Point, Financial District and Back Bay neighborhoods have a Whole Foods Market to call their own—with parking—and boy, is it worth the wait. Those creative people who run Whole Foods Market have turned grocery shopping into an experience.

Located in what was once the Boston Herald building, the design and marketing teams have worked hard to harken back to the structure’s newspaper publishing roots, while also calling on New England’s most charming attributes.

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

They’ve taken one of our favorite summertime activities—visiting the fish stands that dot the coast—and made it into something we can enjoy all year with this little fish stand at the front of the store, right next to the coffee bar (with cold brew!) and frozen yogurt areas.

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

The perimeter of the market is made up to look like a little town, so you can visit the juice shop, bakery, The Fish Shop, butcher and even the ever-changing pop-up shop area.

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

My two personal favorites include a couple of firsts for Whole Foods Market:

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

The generously sized “package store” area includes rows upon rows of wine, 40 cubic feet of craft beers, and (for the first time in any Whole Foods location) a selection of spirits. The wine area includes a long refrigerated wall of wines rated 90+ points by Wine Spectator magazine.

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston


My ultimate favorite thing about the store is the urban spa, run by Austin-based milk + honey. Listen, I already spend a lot of time in Whole Foods Market, and now that there’s a spa! I may need to have my mail forwarded there because, well, why would anyone ever leave? Even the gents are included, with an area for shoe shines and hot shaves.

And let’s not forget the actual grocery store experience! I always feel a sense of freedom when I shop at Whole Foods Market because I know I can trust what I’m buying. I know that the vendor standards are high, so I’m not worried about the fish I’m buying or whether the supplements I’m buying are trustworthy. If I buy a basket of strawberries, I never have to pick through them first to make sure they’re all pretty (not just the ones on the top). And with the 365 Everyday Value staples, it’s not a toss-up between my wallet and that sense of trust.

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market | Grand Opening WFM South End Boston

Now for the exciting news: I’m partnering with Whole Foods Market to give one Frock Files reader a $50 gift card! To enter, follow the Whole Foods Market South End on Twitter. Bonus entries if you leave a comment about your favorite thing about Whole Foods Market or follow me on Instagram.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Whole Foods Market via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that keep Frock Files going!

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A Cold Weather Education

Stay Toasty | Winter clothes warm enough for a Hawaii girl in New England

1. Land’s End Shimmer Down Parka2. Target Women’s Knit Warrior Hat | 3. Columbia Women’s Fast Trek Pants | 4. Swany Legend II Mitt| 5. Saloman Hime High Boot

When I first moved to New England, I was cold all the time. I had a wool coat from the Gap and I thought that was about as good as it got. My cold weather experience was limited to the couple of years I’d spent in England, where fashion, darling, was much more important than function. And anyway, it didn’t get as cold as it does here.

Over the years, I’ve slowly become educated in the fine art of staying warm in the wintertime. And since we’re now dog owners, we actually have to spend long periods of time walking around in the cold, which is like a Dressing for Cold Weather: Honors Edition. With -40 windchill last week, I somehow managed to stay toasty with the right combination of fleece, down, leather, and wool. Being warm is worth the investment–especially when winter lasts as long as it does in New England!

What are your winter must-haves? I’m always looking for advice from seasoned winter professionals.

New Year’s Resolutions 2015

Frock Files: New Year's Resolutions 2015

I’m much better at keeping my word to others than myself, so I’m writing my resolutions here in hopes that doing so will hold me to them this year!

Focus. Lately, I’ve noticed that I multitask so much that I’ll forget what I originally intended to do. You know how it goes: you get on Pinterest to find a recipe, but while the link is loading you pop over to Facebook, and then you get absorbed in an article that a friend posted, which reminds you about a podcast you meant to send to your sister…and suddenly you’re standing in your kitchen with water boiling but what were you trying to cook??? That’s me. It makes me feel a little sick with myself.

So I’m trying to do just one thing at a time. I want to talk to James in the car, rather than scrolling through Instagram or managing some email correspondence. I want to walk Kona without trying to juggle my phone. And I want to read without feeling the need to check my email between chapters. It’s all about being present for the things that really matter.

Push Harder. Since we spent so much of last year in emergency mode, I got into the habit of existing on “less”–less sleep, less nutritionally valuable food, less time with James, less fun, less interaction with loved ones. The list goes on. It was all about survival. This year, I want to thrive, so I need to get back to treating my body with respect by eating colorfully (so many days were filled with beige foods last year), moving daily, and doing what I can to sleep at least seven hours each night. The healthier we are, the easier it will be to fulfill my third resolution:

Enjoy! Because, dear lord, we have some catching up to do in the Having Fun department. We are religious about our Friday date nights but the rest of the time is spent running errands and fulfilling various obligations. A couple of weeks ago we drove up to Portsmouth to bop around the town–not because we needed to but because we wanted to. It set the tone for the whole week!

So there we go. Here’s hoping that 2015 is a happy, healthy, beautiful year for us all! Have you made any resolutions? I’d love to hear what they are.

Love, Joy

P.S. I’m headed to an exciting event tonight! Follow along on Instagram for some exciting (and delicious) fun.



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