Weekend Links + Extra Credit

Weekend Links + Extra Credit | Frock Files

Just a few days left until Christmas! Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving was so late this year, but James and I have noticed a disappointing lack of Christmas decorations this year.

To make up for it and to get into the holiday spirit, we’re going to bake some cookies and watch lots of Christmas movies this weekend! What are you up to this weekend? Here are five great things I found to help you kick off your weekend:

Weekend Links

This family deserves extra credit for their Christmas greeting!

A new friend recently told me about this story of social media gone wrong – and very right.

Since Sarah surprised me with a Corgi-shaped cookie cutter, these are definitely happening.

Donuts, donuts, everywhere!

Love eggnog? Can’t do dairy (or eggs)? Vegan “egg” nog.


The word “nog” reminds me of the word “snog,” which I hope you’re doing a lot this weekend! We bought a sprig of mistletoe last week so that we can do even more than usual. Kissy kissy, friends!

Weekend Links + Swoon

Weekend Links November 15, 2013

This week has been so full that I feel like I need to throw a party to celebrate the weekend’s arrival! As I’ve been swamped with work and holiday/travel preparations, Kona has decided that she wants to go outside every half hour because it’s 35 degrees and she loves it. Blame it on that luxurious fur coat she insists on wearing year round.

It’s a little bit like playing the slot machines, since we never know which trip outdoors is actually going to result in a bathroom break. On one of these outings, as I yet again put on my coat, scarf, boots, and hat in a huff, it dawned on me: I am happy! Work is thriving, my little family is healthy, and I get to go home in about a week. So Kona wants to go outside, only to flop in the grass and give me side-eye. Big deal. This too shall pass. Sometimes a little perspective does wonders for chasing away the grumpies.

Here are five little links to kick off your weekend:

Something I’m proud to be part of.

What the Korean taco means.

Party guests will swoon over this mini-dessert. (Gluten-free and vegan and 100% scrumptious.)

Please consider helping Typhoon Haiyan survivors, even if you can only give a little.

Have you discovered Local Milk yet?

What are you up to this weekend?


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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

Five Simple Truths for a Happier Life

Janae is the founder of the health and lifestyle blog Bring Joy. There, she develops fabulous vegan and gluten-free recipes, exercise videos, and posts about her life as an Air Force wife and mother of four young children. She’s currently living in Washington State as a temporary single parent while her husband completes JAG training; the family will soon be moving to Texas.

Janae is one of those inspiring, deeply honest women who I know could run the world if she chose too. Here, she’s sharing five truths she’s discovered to live a simpler and more fulfilling life.

This summer my husband and I took our four kids on a road trip. It was a time of family, of being completely disconnected from our routines.  In three weeks, we traveled over 3,000 miles and passed through five states.  You could say it was our time to just be.

While my husband has been away on active duty military training, I have had time and space to think about what it means to live simply. For the past six months, I have had none of my personal belongings, other than a few sets of clothes and pairs of shoes.  My kids only have some of their books and clothing.  We’re living in my parent’s basement.  It’s odd, once you have separation from things, what that does to you.

On our road trip, one of our favorite places was the beach in southern Oregon.  We had come from the crowded beaches in California.  In Oregon, at least where we were, there was no one in sight.  It was just us, with the sand and water stretching into the horizon.  My boys could have spent the whole day there, playing tag with the waves, digging holes, running along the shore.

I’ve thought about that place often.  How that simplicity brought us so much joy, and how nature has a way of smoothing out the roughness of life.  And how I have filled my day to day life with things that only add clutter and chaos, when what I desire is simplicity.

I guess you could say I’ve been forced to scale back.  Without a home to care for and classes to teach (I used to teach a dozen fitness classes a week), my world has become open and rather simple.  I’ll admit that it’s taken a few months to get my bearings.  I’m a bit like a fish out of water, learning, discovering the answers to these questions: what do I really want out of life?  What is most important?

Here are five of things I’m discovering:

1.  Time is a finite commodity & my most precious resource.  Can I do something in a more efficient way?  If yes, will it be at the expense of my relationships?  If no, I know I need to do it.  I love social media (Twitter is my fave) and blogs.  But I’ve realized that the people and blogs that are important to me — the stuff I really care about — will rise to the top.  The other, non-essential stuff I’m not really all that passionate about will fall by the wayside.  Spending time online, unlike most other forms of media, have no end.  There is no end on the internet.  If you are an adult, there are no parental controls or limits on how much time you can spend blog hopping, tweeting, and facebooking.

2.  Real face time trumps all.  Eye connection, a person’s warmth, a handshake, or hug —  these things are far more valuable than a text, email, or tweet.  I strive to get as much face time as much as possible with the people who matter most.  That physical contact is a key component to happiness and security, which is missing in our modern lives.

3.  Free is free is free.  Did you know there are so many free, good things?  My faves:  the library, Pandora, parks, going for a walk, cuddling with my kids, doing my personal yoga practice at home.  And breathing deeply.  That’s free too, and that fresh air is good stuff.

4.  It’s much easier to reduce expenses than it is to earn more.  Readers of my blog know of my journey towards a debt-free life.  I’m realizing, in a very real, acute way, just how true this principle is.  I’m squeezing the life out of every penny that crosses my path.  And by golly, it’s making a huge difference.

5.  Ockham’s Razor just may be the answer.  Ockham was a mathematician who theorized:  “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”  In other words, when applied to science or math, if two competing theories make the same exact predictions, the simpler one is better.  I see these bizarre, complicated fad diets; ways to get rich quick; detailed and complicated parenting books — it seems as if we want to believe that the more complicated a process is, the more likely it is to work.  But experience has shown me, whether it be with weight loss, finances, or relationships, things are very simple.  It’s the simplicity of principles, not rigid, complicated rules, that set us free.

See more of Janae’s thoughts over at Bring Joy

More posts to love by Janae:
Pumpkin Caramel Blondie Bars
Workout Video: 5 Minute Abs
Get on the Debt Free Boat

You can also find Bring Joy on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest.  You can read more about Janae, here, & more about her family, here.

Weekend Links: Let’s Help NYC

What a week! Sandy put us in a tailspin for a couple of days, though we were so lucky not to be deeply affected by the storm the way that our friends in New York City have. We’ve been thinking of ways that we can contribute to the efforts in the big apple, and I’ve decided to open up an Etsy shop with donations from a few great women I know. We’ll be featuring handmade crafts ranging from knitwear to stationery to jewelry. If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating, get in touch! We’d love to make as great a donation as possible to the NYC Red Cross.

In the meantime, enjoy your morning coffee with a side of delightful links. Here are the best things I discovered online during this whirlwind week:

Can you imagine waiting 62 years to marry the love of your life?

What you should and shouldn’t buy this month.

We’re hosting a pizza making party this weekend. Here’s how to stretch dough like a pro.

And speaking of stretching dough, everyone should read Janae’s thoughts on using cash (as in the paper stuff that used to hang out in the big part of your wallet).

This is exactly what you need for brunch this weekend. Maybe, like, five of them.

See you lovelies on Monday, with a brand new gift guide for the men! What are you up to this weekend?

{Photo Credit: A Journey to And From Work by Alexander Rentsch}

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