Nine to Five Necessities

Five Fashionable and Functional Items for The Workday | Frock Files

One of the things I’ve always loved about working outside of my home is the abundance of accoutrements that can make you feel at home, even when you’re commuting or at the office. There are few things I salivate over more than objects that are both beautiful and serve some kind of function.

5 Work Day Essentials

Take, for example, my little espresso machine. It’s been in storage for the past year, but now that I actually have to wake up by a certain time I’ll need the full strength of a latte in the mornings. It doesn’t take up much counter space and it pulls beautiful shots of espresso. Years ago, a girl in Lucky Magazine recommended this machine and said that it makes “Reliably perfect cappuccinos every time.” She was right.

It’s also been fun to break out my favorite pair of pumps and my giant pashmina, neither of which got a lot of use since I started working from home. Pashminas are my go-to for work and travel, since they can double as blankets.

And since I never really outgrew my love of thermoses, I’m super excited about the new one I got from Zojirushi. This Japanese brand must put magic into their products, because they keep food and drinks hot/cold for literally hours. I’ve put iced drinks in our travel mugs at the beginning of the day and that night, I’m surprised to find that there’s still ice floating in them. Now I have a little squat one to keep my soups and stews hot for lunch!

I’ve also had the chance to break out this beautiful Swarovski crystal pen that my friend Stephanie gave me as a gift. It’s too special to use for grocery lists, but when I broke it out for my first meeting I instantly felt a little more confident. Having a token of friendship nearby makes everything more delightful!

Are there any things that you use daily that bring you glee? I’m always looking for recommendations!


The Very Best Hot Chocolate

The very best hot chocolate | Frock Files

I’ve always been more of a coffee/tea/apple cider fan than a hot chocolate fanatic, but my lovely friend Monica of Smart Creative Women introduced me to this recipe and I’ve since become a convert. It isn’t too sweet and has a depth that comes from all the different flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and just a hint of salt. I like to stir a teaspoon into my morning coffee with some cream for a perfect mocha au lait. It’s equally decadent in hot water or milk, for you purists out there.

Since I’m in love with this mix and it only takes five minutes to concoct, I’m whipping some up as last minute Christmas gifts and using these printable gift tags that Monica illustrated to fancy up the packaging!

The very best hot chocolate | Frock Files
Adapted from Alton Brown’s hot chocolate recipe.


1.5 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Dutch process cocoa
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 t salt
2 t cornstarch
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t cinnamon


Stir three tablespoons (or more!) into hot water or warm milk. Drift away into a chocolate-y land of bliss. (And they go perfectly with these meltaway cookies, if I do say so myself.)

The very best hot chocolate | Frock Files

Thank you for introducing me to this recipe, Monica!


P.S. Still Christmas shopping? Here are five instant gifts that don’t require shipping or hitting the mall!

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes


Glitter Necklace DIY

Glitter Necklace DIY

Since it gets dark so early these days, I thought it would be fun to add a little bit of sparkle to my wardrobe! This glitter necklace is just about as easy as it gets, and the possibilities are endless. This is a basic tutorial that you can easily add your own flair to. With extra beads, knotting, a substitution of ribbon instead of cotton cord — the list goes on. Here’s how to pull it off:

You’ll Need

Approx 18″ to 24″ cotton cord
3 wooden beads (unfinished)
Mod Podge
Gold paint
Wooden skewers


Glitter Necklace DIY

Glitter Necklace DIY

1. Paint the wooden beads gold. Place each on a skewer, paintbrush, or other thin object and rest on the lip of a container to dry.

Glitter Necklace DIY

2. Brush an even layer of Mod Podge on each bead and immediately roll in glitter. Again, place each on a skewer and rest on a container to dry.

Glitter Necklace DIY

3. Brush another layer of Mod Podge over the glittered layer. Dry, then repeat.

Glitter Necklace DIY

4. String the beads onto the cord, along with any other embellishments you might have on hand.

Glitter Necklace DIY

5. To make the necklace adjustable, take the right side and knot it around the left side as shown in the photo. Repeat in opposite to the left side. You could also add a clasp or simply knot the necklace if you choose to.

5. Wrap it up and give it to someone dazzling!

Glitter Necklace DIY

Secret Ingredient Chex Mix

Sweet and Salty Chex Mix | Frock Files

Another secret family recipe! I can’t remember a Christmas season without this Chex mix. My mom makes huge batches of it and my dad delivers it to pretty much everyone they know — including the preschool I went to. People actually tell them that they were waiting for the Chex mix to arrive. It’s that good.

It features two unexpected ingredients: garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. These give it a depth and a hint of smokiness that I haven’t found in any other Chex mix.

Sweet and Salty Chex Mix | Frock Files


2 boxes Rice Chex
1 box Honeycomb
1 box Corn Chex
Nuts (to taste)
1 ½ lb. butter
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cups sugar


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Divide the cereal and nuts into four tin foil roasting pans.

2. Melt the butter, garlic powder, Worcestershire, and sugar together on low heat. Pour evenly over the cereal and nut mixture. Stir to coat.

3. Bake for 75 minutes total, mixing every 20 minutes.

By the way, this recipe is very flexible. My mom uses cashews and macadamia nuts in it, while I opt for almonds. It’s also really good with pretzels and Cheerios. Let your imagination run wild!

Sweet and Salty Chex Mix | Frock Files
Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

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Gift Guide: The Ladies

Gifts for Girlfriends at $20 or Less

Since I have so many people on my Christmas list and I’m on a budget, I keep my eyes peeled for gifts that are both swoon-worthy and a great deal. I’m sure plenty of you can relate! That’s why I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things, each of them priced at $20 or less. Now there’s a new challenge: not buying one of everything for yourself, as well.

Necklace: J.Crew | Makeup Case: Orla Kiely for Target | Dress: Forever 21 | Earrings: H&M | Tote: West Elm | Candle: Anthropologie

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