The New House

Frock Files | The New House

We tried to wait. We really did. But then, a couple of months after writing that last post we went to an open house on a whim and walked into The One!

I should point out here that finding a house that works for us in New England was not easy. James is a paraplegic, so he uses a wheelchair and we needed a single-level home. And because of the winters, we needed a two-car garage. On the West Coast and in Hawaii, houses like these are a dime a dozen. But here, ranch houses typically come with one car garages if there’s a garage at all. We needed two bathrooms and at least three bedrooms (since my family doesn’t live here and we want them to visit). And, lastly, we wanted a fenced-in yard for our dear Kona. This house–the open house we went to–ticked all those boxes and a whole bunch of “wants” as well, like:

  • A fireplace (two, in fact!)
  • A stone patio
  • An office for James and an office for me
  • Character
  • Wood floors
  • Not just a two car garage, but a three car garage
  • Cute, quiet neighborhood
  • Within walking distance of a charming downtown area
  • With a gorgeous back roads commute through the country to work

Let me back up a bit and explain a few things. In my last post, I lamented that we weren’t ready and hadn’t saved for a down payment, etc., etc., but it turned out that we had built up enough equity in our condo to make that down payment happen. On top of that, the house we came upon was significantly less expensive than what we had originally expected to pay. So, put simply, the financing worked out.

Even we can’t quite believe our luck.

The town we chose, Maynard, is nestled among more expensive and desirable towns like Lincoln, Concord and Sudbury, but Maynard has historically been thought of as a blue collar mill town. In fact, we hear that some people in the neighboring towns still don’t want their children to mingle with the children of Maynard, if you can believe that.

But we’re totally in love with this quirky little town, with its restored vintage cinema, pottery/video rental/used bookstore, authentic Mexican restaurant, and art spaces. We can’t wait for summer to come so that we can walk downtown to the farmer’s market before stopping for coffee at the little corner cafe. There are lots of rainbow flags here. Maynard is delightful!

So that’s the update for now. I’ve been busy filling all the empty spaces–we went from 1,000 square feet to over 2,400. And I’ve been painting up a storm. We’re breathing life and love and our personalities into each room, and as we do I’ll be documenting our progress here.

I promise it won’t be another nine months before my next post!

Love, Joy

P.S. That last house I wrote about? Ironically, I drive past it every day on my way to work. And when the snow was here, I drove by the new owners’ cars caked in snow. Life’s funny.

Life Update: Yes, I’m alive!

Frock Files New Job Recap

Hello, friends! It’s true, despite the month-long silence, I really am still here. The first month in my new role came and went before I could catch my breath. It wasn’t an easy month–in fact, for a few days there, it was downright rough–but then someone reminded me that nothing would work unless I began to rely on myself and things became much sunnier. My brain has so many new wrinkles in it because I’m learning a TON. It feels like a switch turned on in my brain and I want to learn everything.

Here are three things that I’ve learned in the last month:

I love having a plan: By nature, I’m not a huge planner. But for my new role, I spend a lot of time preparing for action–making sure that I understand what my goals are, how I’m going to reach them, breaking it down nearly to the day (and sometimes to the hour). As a “Let’s try it and see what happens” person, I was at first alarmed by all this planning. Then, I saw how much easier it made my day-to-day work and I fell in love with it.

DOING is my steez: Yet, once those plans were made, I was beyond eager to implement the actions. It’s in the doing that I find my state of flow. I’m happiest on the days that I can look at the plan I made, see what I’ve done that day to get incrementally closer to the goal, and knock something off my to do list.

Time. Is. FLYING. As in: It’s JUNE? What?! The time issue really hit me last week when all of a sudden Melissa and I realized that it was time for tickets to go on sale for The Hello Sessions. This crazy, amazing dream that we’ve had for the past two years is a reality now, with actual attendees, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Thanks for sticking with me, and for all of you who have emailed to see how things are going. The fact of the matter is that things are pretty amazing. It’s summertime! I’m liking my new job! We’re healthy! (Even Kona!)

Now I’m just trying to figure out how to fit an extra 6 hours into the day. I’ll be focusing on time management over the next few weeks, and I’ll post my discoveries here on the blog.

No more disappearing. Promise.

Love, Joy

The Hello Sessions Newsletter

New Year’s Tradition: Making Mochi

Welcome to 2014! I hope you all made it to midnight and then got to sleep in. If you’re anything like us, you’re lucky if it was one or the other. (We made it to midnight…)

In Japanese tradition, New Year’s Day is celebrated with mochi making ceremonies, which is especially appropriate here at Frock Files since last year’s most popular posts were the mochi recipes! In case you want to celebrate Japanese-style today, here are four mochi recipes to get you started.

Frock Files | Announcing Frock Photography

The easiest, super soft chi chi dango mochi from my grandma’s recipe box.

How to Make Pumpkin Mochi

Pumpkin mochi. Because I went through that period last fall where I wanted to pumpkin-ify everything!

Frock Files | How to Make Mochi Ice Cream

Mochi ice cream. Fill these babies with any kind of ice cream you please — great for non-dairy eaters.

Easy and Decadent Butter Mochi

Butter mochi — the perfect introduction to mochi for those who have never tried it before. Cake-like, sweet, and decadent.

I’ll be making my grandma’s chi chi dango recipe today. She always told me that the way you spend New Year’s Day is the way you’ll spend the rest of the year, so I guess we’ll have a lot more mochi goodness in the coming months. Happy New Year!

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes


Super Exciting News!


Christmas came early this year! On Friday, I got a huge bit of news, which I’ve been dying to share with you all weekend.

I woke up on Friday morning to an email from Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom. This alone would be better than caffeine to jolt me out of my morning haze, but the contents of the email are what made me pop out of bed: an invitation to teach the food photography workshop at Altitude Summit next month!

This is kind of a Christmas miracle. You see, when I headed to Alt Summit last year, I had no idea what I was jumping into — I barely knew anyone who was going. My blog was just a hobby with a small, albeit loyal, handful of readers. Alt was a big turning point for Frock Files, and to be speaker this year is a great honor.

While I’m still planning the details of the workshop, what I do know is that I’ll be sharing all my secrets to styling and shooting beautiful food photos, including placement, lighting, and sourcing of props. Everyone will have an opportunity for some hands-on fun!

If you’re headed to Salt Lake City for Alt Summit next month, I would love to have you at my workshop. See you there!

Lovely Things in Hawaii

Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013 Frock Files in Hawaii 2013

Now that we’ve been home for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down and pulled together some of the photos of our time there. These are a few of my favorite things, including the chapel outside the Wai’oli Tea Room, dessert with the Professors Dawson at JJ’s, flowers in the gardens at the Spalding House, and breakfast with my family at Town. Of course, my niece Jolie ranks at the top of that list!


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