We are the lucky ones

house

We found a perfect little house last week. It’s a bungalow on a leafy road with a wraparound porch. Inside, it’s bright and airy, with the kind of dining room that would be ideal for Thanksgiving dinners with James’ family, and an extra space for my parents to stay in when they come to visit. There’s a huge yard; the kind of yard that would make for a happy, tired corgi. We fell in love.

But we aren’t prepared to buy this house. We haven’t saved enough for that giant downpayment. We need to work on our condo to get it ready to sell. We need to sell our condo. I need to learn how to use a snow blower. You know, all the fun things.

Needless to say, I was a little heartbroken. I’m not someone who longs to have children, and I’m not really focused on getting into the C-suite. The thing that I pine away for is a house for our little family.

Then, last night, I took Kona out for her last walk before bed and we ran into one of our favorite neighbors. He and his wife have a dog named Memphis who gets so excited about seeing Kona that he sometimes has a little snorting attack. They live in one of the affordable housing units in our building. I asked Memphis’ owner how summer was going. He used to do contract landscaping, but he told me that he had recently taken a full-time job as a custodian at a local high school. “Health insurance! Dental! Retirement!” he exclaimed, rolling his eyes back and shaking his head like he couldn’t believe his luck. “It’s the best! I feel like a new person.” I told him that I felt the same way with my relatively new entry into the full-time work world. It made me so happy to see him so fulfilled simply by being able to provide for his family and stand on his own two feet. We agreed that we’re both very lucky.

And then I came upstairs, picked up my iPad, and learned about the attack in Nice. Another tragedy. More innocent lives lost.

It’s funny how things matter and then, suddenly, they don’t. I think all this terrorism is supposed to make us fearful, and while I am afraid, I am also more appreciative and more present. I am more awake. If it’s possible that time could be short–and that’s always been a possibility, however less likely–but if it’s possible, then I want to stop seeing things as obligations and more as choices. I want the people I love to know that I love them. And I want to be happy right where I am.

I don’t want to stop planning for the future. We will have a house one day. But for now, we’re here. We’re happy. And we’re so, so lucky.

Autumn Refresh: Bedroom Makeover Reveal!

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

It’s finally reveal day! For the past couple of months, Heather and I have been working on our homes for our Autumn Refresh series and today we’re showing off how everything came together. To give you an idea of where we started, here’s a very lackluster before:

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover (Before) | Frock Files

And here it is post-transformation!

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

Our goal was to take the bedroom from a space we merely slept in to one that we could actually enjoy. James and I love boutique hotels, and we thought it would be luxurious if we could bring in a few of the elements we like from those rooms, while creating a functional bedroom that we can live in every day.

Although we love our condo, it really doesn’t get a ton of light except in our bedroom. Especially in the wintertime. So before the days got too short, we decided that we would go with a soft white to amplify the light as much as possible. We went over all of the walls with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, and to add depth and a bit of elegance, we painted the closet bump out Benjamin Moore’s Black Beauty. After the painting was done (and let me tell you, it took us awhile!), things really started to come together.

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

Like a lot of new construction, our bedroom doesn’t have a ceiling light in it. We had two lamps but then one of them died last year and we were left with one 75-watt lamp to light the whole space! Luckily, Wayfair saved the day by sending me these gorgeous swing arm lamps. They plug in, so we can take them with us when we move on.

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock FilesBoutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

You might be able to tell from the “before” image that our night stands were way too low. It was a cool concept to begin with, but dozens of spilled water glasses and knocked over cups of coffee later, we were tired of them. As you already know, I went on the hunt for the perfect gold side table and when I didn’t find it, I hacked an almost-right one from Home Goods.

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files
Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

On James’ side, we created a small workspace for the days (and frequent nights) he works from home. When I moved in, James generously gave me the second bedroom (check it out here and here) to use as a home office, which left him to work from the dining room table.

But that meant lots of distractions, and too much noise during conference calls. He told me he didn’t need much room–just enough for his laptop–so I asked our favorite carpenter for help wall-mounting a piece of reclaimed wood my friend Eling had found for us. This is by far James’ favorite part of the makeover.

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock FilesBoutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

The little accessories are what really bring the space to life. We didn’t want to get rid of the carpeting but I gave it a bit of a boost by layering faux sheepskins next to the bed–which Kona promptly declared to be her new bed. At the risk of being redundant, I hung another deer hook, which is the perfect spot for scarves. The blanket from DLK gives the bed a big dose of personality and chicness. And the big mirror brings even more light into the room.

Last but not least, the painting above the bed is an original watercolor by Roger Whitlock. He’s an amazing artist (and equally amazing person) based in Honolulu. I’m a lucky girl to own two of his paintings. I love the way it helps to tie in the natural elements in the room.

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock FilesBoutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

Now that we’ve wrapped up the makeover, we spend so much more time in the bedroom. When James and I are both working from home, I like to interrupt his afternoon with a little coffee break. And on the day I shot this, I climbed into bed and took a nap right afterward. Call us hedonists–we don’t mind!

Boutique Hotel Inspired Bedroom Makeover | Frock Files

Thanks for joining us on this Autumn Refresh journey! Both Heather and I have loved the motivation that the series has given us to finish our rooms. Now, head on over to The Caterpillar Years to see Heather’s amazing home office/guest room transformation! It’s chock full of ideas for renters with nit-picky landlords and perfect for anyone expecting guests later this year.

Check out the rest of the Autumn Refresh series here

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Autumn Refresh: Bedroom Makeover Inspiration

Bedroom Makeover Inspiration | Frock Files

When I moved in with James two years ago, we joked that his condo looked like the apartments that spies use in movies–sparsely furnished with builders-grade everything and totally generic cream colored walls. Since then, we’ve painted almost every wall, hung artwork, laid down rugs, hung curtains, bought new furniture, and put up shelves that are filled with books. There’s no mistaking that people live here now. (In fact, you can get a taste of our space by checking out our half-bath and home office.)

The one room we haven’t touched is our bedroom. But after spending a lovely weekend in New York City last May, we fell in love with the decor at the Refinery Hotel (above and below), and I decided that it’s time for us to finish off the bedroom at long last.

refinery2

My dear friend Heather (The Caterpillar Years) and I have been missing each other since both moving away from Portland, so we decided to give one another a little peer decorating pressure by collaborating on a series of posts about our room makeovers. We’re calling it Autumn Refresh and we’ll each be publishing one post each Wednesday throughout the month to document our progress. Today we’re both focusing on inspiration.

Here are a few more images that have influenced the choices I’m making for this space:

Bedroom Makeover Inspiration | Frock FilesBedroom Makeover Inspiration | Frock Files

(All images are posted on my Nesting board on Pinterest. Most of them don’t have original sources or aren’t linked.)

And here’s my inspiration board! Some of these pieces will actually make it into my bedroom. Others are DIY projects, which will be featured here. I’m particularly fond of the yummy cotton blanket from the newly opened DLK shop. It pulls everything together so nicely and it’s the best thing to snuggle up with when it’s chilly.

Bedroom Makeover Inspiration | Frock Files

Lamp: Wayfair | Terrarium: West Elm | Blanket: DLK | Table: Anthropologie | Frame: Crate & Barrel | Paint: Benjamin Moore

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to head over to The Caterpillar Years to see Heather’s inspiration for her home office. Heather always does a great job of blending contemporary and Mid-century Modern style, and this room is no exception. Come back next week for more from our Autumn Refresh series!

Is there a room in your home that could use some freshening up for Fall? Join us in reclaiming our rooms!! Post photos of your room refresh on Instagram with #autumnrefresh. Heather and I will be re-posting our favorite rooms! Be sure to follow both of us on Instagram: The Caterpillar Years and Frock Files.

Simple Recipe: Sweet Iced Coffee Cubes

Frock Files | Sweet Coffee Cubes for Iced Coffee

This post was originally published last summer. Since I’ve begun making them again (it’s hot here!), I thought you might want a refresher to impress your 4th of July guests.

In the summertime, I love drinking iced coffee instead of my usual steaming cup of joe. Since I cold brew our coffee anyway, it’s actually easier in the mornings. But I like drinking my coffee in a leisurely fashion, which is hard with iced coffee because I’d end up with watery melted ice cubes on the top and the heavy coffee/milk combination on the bottom. Not appetizing.

I’ve heard of people freezing their coffee into cube form to eliminate the watery coffee issue, but when I did it I found that my coffee got bitter because the coffee to milk/sweetener ratio got thrown off. Since I sweeten my coffee with a little bit of condensed milk, I just added a tiny bit of condensed milk to the cubes to keep the proportions just right. It works! And a bonus: it’s really pretty.

Frock Files | Sweet Coffee Cubes for Iced Coffee

Ingredients

Condensed milk
Cold coffee

Instructions

1. Drizzle a quarter to half a teaspoon of condensed milk into the ice cube tray. You can also use caramel if you prefer the richer flavor, but you may need to heat it slightly in the microwave to get it to settle sufficiently.

2. Pour the coffee over the condensed milk. Add cream or milk if desired.

3. Freeze for at least four hours, or overnight.

Frock Files | Sweet Coffee Cubes for Iced Coffee

This is the perfect thing to serve for brunch or with afternoon visitors. Add a little bit of Kahlua and you have an instant cocktail!
Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

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Cherry + Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

10 Minute Ice Cream Cake Recipe

It’s August! I’m in as much of a state of disbelief as you are. This month’s theme is Celebrate! I’m turning the big 3-0 at last, and anyway, it’s summer — we need to get our party on. All the recipes this month will be cake-related, since cake is my favorite and so are you.

James’ mom makes an ice cream cake like this one, except with chocolate fudge instead of cherry frosting in the middle. Since chocolate and cherries make me weak in the knees, I concocted a fluffy cherry-vanilla center. Using ice cream sandwiches as the base, this impressive-looking (and tasting!) cake takes all of 10 minutes to whip up.

10 Minute Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

Makes two small cakes or one large cake.

12 ice cream sandwiches
16 oz. Cool Whip
10-12 oz. cherry pie filling (about half the can, as desired)
1 box instant vanilla pudding (1.5 oz)

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, gently fold together the cherry pie filling and 8oz (half the container) of Cool Whip. Add the vanilla pudding packet until completely combined.

2. On a piece of parchment paper, lay out three ice cream sandwiches. Top with cherry/Cool Whip/pudding filling. Repeat with a layer of ice cream sandwiches, another layer of frosting, and another layer of ice cream sandwiches.

3. Cover the entire cake in the leftover plain Cool Whip. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

10 Minute Ice Cream Cake Recipe

I like to make a small cake (6 ice cream sandwiches) and reserve the frosting and Cool Whip to make another small cake later on, but you can make one big cake using all 12 ice cream sandwiches at once if you’re having lots of people over. You popular person, you.

P.S. More cherry and chocolate goodness.

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