Be the First to Say Hello

Be the First to Say Hello

Whew! Last week was a whirlwind. Better Homes and Gardens invited a handful of bloggers from across the country to meet in New York to learn about working with the magazine. And so we came from both coasts and everywhere in between to talk style, food, photography, and social media. But my biggest takeaway from the trip? Friendship.

As I was getting ready to head to the Big Apple, James and I had a few conversations about all the pressure that surrounds these blogger events to look good. At the last minute, I was concerned that I was, perhaps, not worried enough about my clothes. Should I have bought more new things? Did I need a new lipstick? In the end, we came to the conclusion that, unless you wear your rattiest clothes or something Lady Gaga-esque, no one is really going to remember what you wore. On the other hand, everyone will remember whether or not you were kind to them.

Luckily enough, I met some really wonderful people through the workshop. Although I’d never met any of them in real life before, I had the best time getting to know PJ, Kirsten, Sarah, and Jeran, who met me for dinner the first night and allowed me to be their honorary fifth roommate on the day of the event, since my apartment was further away than their hotel. I got a chance to meet so many other bloggers whose work I also admire, like Rachel and Leah. And I was reunited with my very first blog friend, Whitney! I learned a ton from the BHG experts, including a great demonstration in how to be totally charming from Eddie Ross himself. (The girls and I decided that we want to have a dinner party with Eddie every weekend for the rest of our lives.)

When I hit up Alt Summit last January, I was really shy about introducing myself to people. But after that conference and during this workshop, I discovered that the way to make the most of these events — and the way to build great and lasting friendships — is simply by being willing to say hello first. A smile helps. Genuine interest in the people around you is even better.

So this week, whether you find yourself in line at the grocery store or at a professional networking event, think about saying hello to the person next to you. It’s a tiny gesture; it doesn’t take much energy. But it could make your life a heck of a lot richer.

P.S. I didn’t have a minute to spare in New York because I had to get home for some long standing commitments. So if I missed seeing you this time, please know that I’ll do my very best to see you the next time I’m in the city.

P.P.S. The team at Better Homes and Gardens is awesome! Thank you so much to Kaelin and her team for putting together a stupendous day. I’m excited to collaborate!


Image Source

Where We’re Going

Frock Files | Where We're Going

A year-and-a-half ago, I dusted off this long-neglected blog. My only purpose was to have a space in which to play with a few creative ideas and post about things that I found inspiring. I had no idea that it would evolve into something that, in many ways, shapes the very happy life I have now. Since that starting point in November 2011, nearly everything in my life has changed and the blog has changed too, with it; because of it.

Working on Frock Files isn’t my full-time job; it’s one part of several roles I juggle as a freelance writer, designer, and photographer. But the blog is what takes up the most room in my schedule, my mind, and my heart. Most of my attachment stems from the warm, easy friendships that have grown out of the blogging community. Every time I schedule a post, a little light turns on inside me because I can’t wait to share it with you. Frock Files has given me something I’ve searched for for a long time: purpose.

One of the “feel good” things I’ve been doing this year is to take my own wishes more seriously. I’ve always admired people who say, “I’d like to…” and then go about figuring out a way to do it, rather than brushing it off and going on their merry way. Over the last few months, I’ve realized that I’d like to have more time and energy to put into improving this space. So when the opportunity arose for me to join Burst Media, I gladly accepted.

What does this mean? Over the next week, the blog will be undergoing some adjustments and I’ll be including a few more advertisements in the sidebar. The content will remain the same (and hopefully, over time, get better), but my hope is that the advertisements will help to make it possible to continue growing. As always, I’ll work hard to make sure that the posts are genuine and thoughtful.

So thank you for sharing this space with me and for being part of its growth. And thanks, most especially, for visiting with me every day.

Love, Joy



Small Acts of Kindness: App Happy

Frock Files | Small Kindnesses: Gift an App

A couple of months ago, my friend Erin told me about how she’d gifted apps to her mom and best friend. I immediately fell in love with the idea — it was so simple and inexpensive, but it had the power to let them know she was thinking of them and to help them in their daily lives. So for this first random act of kindness, you may consider sending a song, an app, or even a virtual Starbucks gift card to someone who could use a little sunshine in their day. And on a Monday, that could be practically anyone!

Here are instructions on how to gift an app.

The Happy App is one of my favorites — it’s an excellent guided meditation that can help you to relax and get to a more centered place.

And I think this song could put a bounce in anyone’s step.

Have a wonderful start to this fresh week, friends!


This post wasn’t sponsored; I just really enjoy all of these things and wanted to share them with you as fun ways to send small tokens of love to friends and loved ones.

Bright Lights on Janae of Bring Joy

Welcome to June! This month’s theme, Feeling Good, is all about working on finding a balanced mind, body, and spirit, while having fun. So it’s perfect that Janae is stopping by today to share her favorite things. Her blog, Bring Joy, is all about finding a healthy lifestyle through gluten-free and vegan food, becoming debt-free, and loving yourself. I’m especially excited about all of Janae’s book recommendations, which I’ve already added to my summer reading list!

Frock Files | Bright Lights on Janae of Bring Joy

What do you do for a living? I have a bachelor’s in English, but I spent six years as a fitness professional teaching yoga, all kinds of aerobics, and Pilates for several educational institutions, including two universities. For the time being, I’m a full-time mom of four and Air Force wife, and write at my blog, Bring Joy, in my “spare” time.

Places you’ve lived: I grew up in Washington state, which I will always consider my home. I went to college and lived in Utah for 10 years, and now I’m living in San Antonio, TX.

Place you’d most like to visit: Though there are many places on my travel wish list, I’m an unabashed Anglophile and would love to re-visit England. I went there on a hiking tour 10 years ago and I’ve thought about returning ever since!

Your favorite indulgence: Massages. My husband hates them. (Can you believe it?) They are my ultimate indulgence. There are very few things I find as relaxing as a deep tissue massage. Though I admit, it’s a rare treat these days.

The best advice you’ve ever received: My dad didn’t so much say this, but he taught me and my siblings this through his words and by example: Treat people with respect and kindness, and don’t judge others. To this day, I’ve never heard my dad speak an ill word about anyone.

What’s your favorite healthy recipe? I love roasted any type of vegetable or tuber, like sweet potatoes or potatoes. The trick is to make sure the pieces aren’t too big (bite size or a bit bigger is about right) and to roast at 425 F. Placing the veggies on parchment paper, drizzling with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkling with kosher salt is also key.

Frock Files | Bright Lights on Janae of Bring Joy


Since moving to San Antonio, where it’s much more hot and humid than in Utah or Washington, I’ve begun to appreciate the value of the maxi dress, which allows for some breathing room and does not cling (two virtues in a hot climate). I only own a few, but this one by Mod Cloth is on my wish list.


I couldn’t live without my Blendtec blender and my rice cooker. The Blendtec is pricey, but worth every penny because it’s an appliance that will last. I’ve had mine for five years. Also, I’m a failure (and lazy) when it comes to making nice fluffy rice, so my rice cooker helps me in this area. No hassle and it makes perfect rice every time.


Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. It’s amazing! I have really sensitive skin, but I can use this soap on my face and anywhere else on my body. The scent is invigorating.


One of the first “real” books I read was Roots by Alex Haley, when I was 12. That book opened my eyes to the history of slavery and how, despite extreme distress, humans find a way to rise above the inhumanity.

I’m partial to memoirs and personal essays, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean being one of the best. In this book, he combines fiction with memoir, and it’s his only piece of fiction (which makes me sad; I wish he had written more). He has a deadpan, forthright, & poetic narrative that I find beautiful & soothing to read. The story is about fly fishing, but the underlying allegory is about three men & their relationship with one another. It’s the kind of writing that makes me want to write. Emilie Carles’s, A Life of Her Own, and Jung Chang’s Wild Swans are two other must-read memoirs, in my opinion.

Nora Ephron is another of my favorite essayists. I just finished I Remember Nothing, and am entranced by her warm and candid style.

I like any of Willa Cather’s stuff, & sweeping period pieces like Tolstoy’s Anna Kareninaand Drieser’s An American Tragedy.  I also love Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth , John Knowles A Separate Peace, and Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. Those are all books I’d read again and again.


I think a set of light and heavy hand weights, a good yoga mat, and a stability ball are all you need for a home gym. There are other gadgets  but those three things will get you where you need to go, fitness-wise.

Thank you, Janae!

For delicious gluten-free and vegan recipes, and more of Janae’s writing, visit Bring Joy.

Frock Files | More Bright Lights

Long Distance Friendships

Frock Files | On Great Friendships

Soon after I moved to Portland in 2010, I met Lindsey while working a temp job downtown. We like to say that we fell in love over a secret plan to drown the office bonsai trees (it’s halfway true). When I moved back to Boston last summer, I didn’t have any doubt that Lindsey and I would continue to be as thick as thieves. We’re almost constantly in touch, but when we aren’t I always know that she’s there, she always knows that I’m here, and we’re never feel too terribly far apart.

Frock Files | On Great FriendshipsFrock Files | On Great Friendships

Since we don’t get to spend a lot of time together now that we’re on different coasts, I asked my friend Meghann Street if she could capture a perfect girls’ day with me and Lindsey when I was in Portland last month. We shopped, we had cupcakes, and we stopped to smell the flowers. And we laughed — a lot.

Frock Files | On Great FriendshipsFrock Files | On Great Friendships

Maybe it’s because she’s had to deal with the most demanding of jobs or because she has that steel-laden aristocratic Japanese blood (mixed with some ladylike Swedish) in her — whatever it is, Lindsey has taught me a lot about living a no-nonsense life. Most importantly:

  • There’s almost always something to laugh at when you’re crying.
  • Vegetables can always be disguised as something more fun.
  • If someone wants something from you and can’t tell you what it is, it’s probably not your problem.

Frock Files | On Great Friendships

And now that you’ve seen all these lovely, ladylike photos Lindsey suggests that I add this: It’s important to have a friend with whom you have no filter. As in:

Frock Files | On Great Friendships

She later learned that #nofilter actually means not using a photo filter on Instagram, but continues to prefer it her way. So do I.

Frock Files | On Great Friendships

What have you learned from your best girlfriends?

P.S. Speaking of friends, I’m feeling especially fortunate this week to know such generous and thoughtful people within this community. Whether you’ve offered words of encouragement, support, advice, or a push in the right direction, thank you.  I’m so grateful to have you in my life.


Lindsey’s Outfit: Shirt: Aritzia | Scarf: Monica Lee Studios | Jeans: Levis | Heels: | Cardigan: Target (past season) | Purse: Gap (past season)

My Outfit: Shirt: Aritzia | Jeans: Banana Republic | Heels: BP (past season) | Earrings: Kate Spade | Purse: Kate Spade (past season) | Scarf: Monica Lee Studios | Tattoos: Tattly

Photos by Meghann Street

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...