How Target is Making Life More Efficient

How Target is Making Life More Efficient | Frock Files

The other afternoon, my boss asked how I was coping with our recent run of bad luck and I confessed that I’ve taken to eating cereal for dinner since James isn’t usually home. “I can’t figure out how to fit everything into one day and still have the energy to eat anything that takes more than two minutes to make,” I said.

My boss, who has a full-time job and three very active children, said, “That’s why I do all my shopping online.”


Only, even when I remember to do the shopping I usually end up forgetting something crucial.

So I was thrilled to learn that Target now offers a subscription service, through which you can have those household necessities delivered on a schedule. If you find that you don’t need laundry detergent every month but instead every six weeks, you can easily log in and make the adjustment yourself. Here are the categories you can order subscription items from:

Target Subscription Service

By wiping all of those last minute shopping trips off my to do list, I’ll be saving myself hours each week. We’ll also be saving money, since you receive a 5% discount off of subscription items plus another 5% discount if you use your Target REDcard.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is that I don’t have to dedicate any more room in my brain to panicking over whether or not our toilet paper supply will last until I get to the store, or if we’ll have coffee when we’re bleary eyed on Monday morning.

Even after all this craziness ends (and it will end, right?), we’ll be happy to have this tool to get us one step closer to an orderly life.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Target. The opinions and text are all mine.


Calligraphy Workshops with Bedsidesign

Bedsidesign Calligraphy Workshops in New England! | Frock Files

A year ago, I shot these photos for my friend Christie, who was just launching her calligraphy business. She had quit her full-time job to jump into entrepreneurship feet first, and since then her business has blossomed.

I’m so thrilled that she’ll be coming to the Greater Boston area to teach a calligraphy workshop at Mill No. 5, which is one of the coolest spaces ever. The three-hour workshop includes instruction, your very own calligraphy kit, a swag bag, and local delicacies. I’ve been wanting to learn calligraphy for years and years, and I’m beyond excited that I’ll get to learn it from Christie.

If you live in New England, I hope you’ll join us for an afternoon/evening of learning, style, and fun. I’ll be at the 12-3pm workshop and I would love to meet you!

P.S. Christie is also teaching classes in Philadelphia and Syracuse this fall!




Life Update: Better and Better!

Back when I lived in Portland, one of my favorite kids used to say that she was getting “biy-tter and biy-tter” (better and better), and that’s what echoes in my mind each day! The Doxycycline used to treat Lyme knocked me out for a few days, and while I’m not back to normal yet, I’m definitely functional.

Better and Better | Frock Files

For privacy reasons, I won’t divulge too much about what’s going on with my father-in-law. That said, it turns out that we’ve been right about one thing all along–he’s truly one in a million. In fact, that’s the likelihood of getting the virus that he’s been diagnosed with. We’re so lucky to live in Massachusetts with such world class facilities and doctors. It’s a long road ahead for him, but he’s a fighter.

What got me through last week–which involved many days in the hospital, lots of time in bed, and even a car accident–was filling up on beauty. I finished The Opposite of Loneliness, listened to a lot of music, and caught up on my favorite blogs. I missed my dance classes but I got to watch this absolutely gorgeous number, which made my heart swell the way dance always does. It is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I thought you might like it too.

Thank you, as always, for your kind thoughts and friendship.

Great Eats North of Boston

My parents were in town (from Hawaii) last week, and while they’ve visited me on the East Coast twice before, this is the first time they’ve come since I left the city. Since we’re a family that loves food, I took them to a few foodie gems we’ve found closer to home, as well as a couple of great places in the city. If you’re visiting New England, I highly recommend stopping by any of these dining establishments to grab a bite.

Blue Fin

Good Eats North of Boston

We live just outside of a forest and within a stone’s throw of several farms, yet somehow we also have a fabulous Japanese restaurant in our neighborhood as well. Asian restaurants here are often fusion, with Chinese places serving sushi and Thai restaurants serving Chinese food (confusing!), but at Blue Fin you’ll only find real homestyle Japanese food and incredible sushi. The sashimi is always fresh. The sushi chefs are artists. And they serve up a pretty mean martini. Insider tip: the bar is the most comfortable, relaxed place to sit.


Good Eats North of Boston

Just down the street from Blue Fin is Richardson’s dairy farm, which is a New England institution. I can’t tell you how many times James and I have finished off our sushi, only to drive two minutes down the road for dessert at Richardson’s. My favorite is the cherry vanilla ice cream, but I haven’t had a bad scoop there yet, and I’ve tried a lot of them! Mini golfing and batting cages are on the premises, but the real excitement is that there are cows! The ones that make the milk that goes in the ice cream! I mentally thank them every time we drive by.


Good Eats North of Boston

My dad’s number one request: New England clam chowder. James pointed us to Shea’s, which is a cozy restaurant on the water with award-winning chowder. I’m not sure if we’re just lucky, but we’ve never had to wait there, despite the fact that the fried clam place across the street is always insane and the food here is awesome. The chowder is perfect, and the sandwiches and salads are equally mouthwatering. You can easily get to the beach or to a bunch of antique stores from Shea’s, so it’s a perfect stop on the North Shore.

Mill River Winery

Good Eats North of Boston

Before heading to Shea’s, we stopped at this gorgeous little winery on the North Shore, in Rowley. The space is relatively new–airy and bright. They produce a wide variety of wines, and for just $5 you can taste them all. Although the chardonnay is award winning, our favorite was their crisp, dry Riesling. We might not be Napa, but this is a definite must for wine lovers. (Find a more comprehensive review, complete with actual wine vocabulary, at The Eats.)

I’m considering featuring more local places here on Frock Files with first-hand photos. Let me know if this sounds interesting to you. There are so many good ones; this is just a start! Where do you take people when they’re visiting your hometown?

Photo Credits: Blue Fin | Richardson’s | Shea’s | Mill River Winery



How to Stay Sane During Puppy’s First Year

How to Maintain Your Sanity During Puppy's First Year | Frock Files

Kona turned one-year-old last month, which means that she’s lived with us for just short of a year. Let me tell you, friends, I wouldn’t go back to those early days if someone paid us! While we’ve been lucky in many ways–she’s always slept through the night, she’s relatively low maintenance during the day, she loves other animals, she’s generally quiet–in those first few months it was tough. We were up and down with her every hour-and-a-half during our waking hours. She tried to eat everything from our baseboards to our rugs to ear plugs, and when we sprayed them with bitter apple, she only liked them more.

But over the months she’s mellowed out, and even though she’s a quirky little thing, we love her to bits. As I type this, she’s curled up in her crate behind me, making little doggie dreaming noises and kicking her paws every once in awhile. We can’t imagine life without her.

For anyone who has a new puppy, or anyone considering adding a new four-legged canine to your family, I came up with this list of things we learned during Kona’s first year:

How to Maintain Your Sanity During Puppy's First Year | Frock Files

Doggie Daycare = Balanced Dog. But be careful when you’re choosing one. We first tried the one that’s right across the street from our house, but in the end convenience lost out to quality. We then took Kona to a wonderful daycare with a huge outdoor play area, but when we discovered that she was sneak-eating other dogs’ poop there (despite their low staff-to-dog ratio) we had to pull her out because she kept getting sick. We then reverted to hiring a dog walker on days when I go into the office, but I noticed Kona was getting overly anxious after a few weeks. Now we use a combination of dog walking and indoor daycare, which seems to be a good balance. Long story short, you’ll get to know your dog and that will help you find the right one. But in my opinion, a good doggie daycare is a great way to make sure your puppy grows into a balanced dog.

It’s essential to introduce a puppy to as many things as possible. Kona met all kinds of people and dogs right off the bat, but she didn’t meet many kids, and now she’s scared of them. While she’s all bark and no bite, it’s still hard to explain to kids who are so excited by this real-life teddy bear. We’re slowly including more kids into her life, and after about an hour she thinks they’re great — but it does take that hour for her to feel like, yes, these are humans. No, they aren’t zombies.

Dog probiotics are a (very good) thing. When Kona was getting sick a lot, our vet put her on antibiotics and, later, a probiotic. It’s made a huge difference in Kona’s digestion, which has always been problematic for us. We sprinkle half a capsule on her food each night, which she scarfs down so quickly that she doesn’t even detect a difference.

YouTube is fantastic for dog training. We went to puppy kindergarten, and our teacher actually said, “Geez, you guys didn’t need to come to this class at all!” We began teaching Kona commands the day she came home, based on information we learned from YouTube trainers. My favorite is this series on dog training by

How to Maintain Your Sanity During Puppy's First Year | Frock Files

Neighbors are nicer when you have a dog. We didn’t really talk to any of our neighbors pre-Kona. Since she came home with us, we know almost everyone. And while we’re pretty sure no one knows our names, they definitely know Kona’s! It helps that she greets them by running full speed down the hallways toward them, flopping on her back, and kicking her legs in the air. Who wouldn’t like such an enthusiastic greeting? Also, if they’re sane people and they offer to watch your dog, let them. They really want to, and you’ll really need a guilt-free break.

Everything outdoors is more fun with a dog. I’m really finicky about temperature. Anything above 80 or below 60 and I would be hard pressed to get outdoors. But Kona and I go for a two-mile walk almost every day, unless it’s icy or raining. We’ve also loved taking her to restaurants with outdoor patios, on walks around lakes and the beach, to the dog park, and on long car rides. We’re experiencing a whole new layer of enjoyment in these warm months!

It’s essential for everyone’s sanity to take breaks. Although Kona sleeps through the night, she does wake us up at around six or seven every morning. She also likes a lot of play time and attention. And we, used to our relative freedom to come and go when we pleased, found that we were missing the Fridays that I’d travel into the city to have date night with James (too late) or quick overnight trips around New England. We were so grateful to discover DogVacay early on, and we continue to look to our dog sitter on a regular basis. Kona gets to run around with the sitter’s dog in her “second home” and we get to run around without worrying about feedings, walks, or a lonely pooch.

P.S. Do-it-yourself doggie “ice cream” bites!




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