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.

Flash Mob Opera

I’m always impressed by companies that do fresh and exciting things to get attention on their brands. Take, for instance, the adorable video campaign that Oh Happy Day is doing in collaboration with Target. It’s a more intimate way of conveying a message to a niche audience. It says: we get you.

While we’ve all seen flash mobs (which never fail to impress me when done well), this is the first time I’ve seen a flash mob opera. The Italian food company Scala’ put a handful of opera singers in grocers’ and street clothes in the middle of a Waitrose market. The reactions of the shoppers are priceless!

There’s always a way to take a tired idea, turn it on its head, and make it fun for everyone. It’s all about perspective. How are you keeping things fresh?

Participate: Project Postal

Frock Files: Project Postal

When I was a little girl, I had lots of pen pals. My mom let me dip into her stash of pretty Crane stationery and I’d scrawl out letters to friends from Africa and Pennsylvania and England and California. To this day, I look forward to the arrival of the mail, even though it’s mostly advertisements, bills, and an overabundance of magazine subscriptions. Every once in awhile, a handwritten note makes its way into the stack and it makes my day.

That’s why Theresa (of one of my favorite blogs, inspirationCOOPERATIVE) and I have decided to put together some mail-based fun in honor of this month’s theme. Project Postal is a way to both send and receive a little ray of sunshine in your mailbox. Want to participate? Read on.

Get Involved in Project Postal

  • Leave a comment below by this Friday, March 8 and email one of us directly with your postal address.
  • Once all comments and addresses have been collected, Theresa and I will coordinate sending each of you one person’s name and address
  • The person chosen for you will be your lucky recipient. Please mail to this person a beautiful quote of your choosing, something uplifting and encouraging. If you know this person, perhaps you can even pick a quote specific to them, something you know they need to hear. You can embellish, handletter, typeset, watercolor, write on a paper napkin…the quote anyway that your heart desires. (Perhaps the recipient will even hang it on their inspiration board.)
  • Extra credit and optional: Once you’ve received your beautiful quote in the mail, take a snap via Instagram and/or Tweet it using the hashtag #project postal.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with! And, hey, to be honest we’re really excited about what will end up in our own mailboxes, too.

The postcard above is from my lovely friend Giova from One Bunting Away.

Alt Summit Lessons: Tips for Growing Your Blog

I know you’ve all seen that print that’s floating around on Pinterest. You know, the one about not comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle? When I walked into my last workshop at Alt, I was kind of nervous about whether or not I’d be able to keep myself from playing the comparison game because the panel was made up of bloggers who had seen tremendous success within a really short period of time. None of these ladies have had their blogs for over two years, yet they’ve seen off the charts numbers and growth.

(Note to self: ask whether great (blonde) hair plays into blog success. L to R: Steph, Mara, Erin, Kirsten. Photo by the wonderful Justin Hackworth.)

But it turns out that it’s pretty much impossible to get down on yourself or get taken over by the jealousy monster when the enviable ones are sharing all their secrets to success with you. What, at home, would feel like a mysterious magic that they somehow conjured up felt, instead, like a thoughtful, strategic process filled with hard work and, yeah, maybe a smidge of luck. But mostly hard work.

So instead of envy, I found that I was filled with excitement. And not just about the way that I could see the readership of this blog expand, but also about the ways that these methods could help me to open up to a better, fuller life. Does that sound grandiose? Maybe. You’ll see what I mean.

Their Secrets to Success:

Be authentic in everything you do. Only write about topics you’re passionate about because if you don’t people will know. Make sure you’re writing about something you can live and breathe, and would do with or without a blog. This authenticity is what will make you shine among all the thousands of blogs out there — take it from Mara of A Blog About Love. Within two weeks of starting her blog, she received an email from a big time blogger, telling her that her honest, deeply personal posts had what it takes to make it in this business.

Dedicate your blog to helping people. Treat your readers as friends — or better yet, actually become friends with your readers. That way, when you’re creating content you’ll always have their best interests in mind. Think about what you’re doing to enrich their lives with your knowledge or skills and then share those things. Erin from My Thirty Spot created her blog when she recognized that there wasn’t anything out there specifically for women in that decade of their lives. The blog is chock full of advice about adjustments, changing relationships, fashion, and — my favorite — food. It’s a community for women in their 30s, which I can’t wait to be a part of soon.

Find a mentor. In fact, find a few. These ladies referred to their groups of mentors as a board of directors, which I really like. Once you find a few great bloggers to agree to mentor you, let them know your goals, then open yourself up to learning whatever you can from them, whether through email, Skype, or in real life. Remember that your mentors are doing you a huge service and will likely play a large role in your success, so let them know how grateful you are, and often. Send notes. Send gifts. And commit yourself to helping them in any way you can.

Take it offline. In other words, give your blog a place in the real world. Erin says she hands out business cards to everyone she can, and suggests making your mission known to friends and family. She also suggests doing trades with local businesses, in which you ask to leave a set of cards in exchange for a post promoting their services. Meet other bloggers, gather people together, teach workshops, or offer something for free. Mara put together a workshop with a stellar J.Crew stylist, and the post about that workshop went viral (again, you’ve probably seen it on Pinterest). She also offers to go for a walk with her readers to help them in their quests for greater happiness. What can you offer?

(That’s Mara and her handsome man taking tips from a J.Crew stylist. Aren’t they the prettiest couple? Photo by Justin Hackworth.)

Have a newsletter. And a really engaging bio. In both of these elements, make it a goal to make a connection, whether through scope, voice, humor, links, photos, or video.

What Federated Media Wants

And finally, here’s a gold mine that Mara shared. She’s working with the big papa of ad networks, Federated Media, which sent her the following list of elements they look for when searching for blogs to partner with.

  • Use categories that are easily visible
  • Have Tweet/Pin/Like buttons at the bottom of each post. Include a counter.
  • Make your social media buttons easily visible.
  • Include integrated ad zones (check out DesignLoveFest)
  • Have a clear advertising page (see SFGirlbyBay)

Phew. See? There’s no time to be jealous or intimidated because you’ve now got a dozen things to do to make your blog better. I feel like this is a lesson that extends beyond blog growth to real life — if we’re busy doing what we love, we’re happy; if we’re happy, we’re not constantly comparing ourselves to others. Because, as these ladies pointed out, there’s no such thing as too many blogs, since each of us has something of quality to offer the world.

Thank you so much to the women who hosted this jumpstarting session. I highly recommend spending some time on their super addictive blogs. Oh, and don’t worry if you suddenly feel like they’re your new best friends — they’re used to it.

Mara Kofoed | A Blog About Love
Erin Kennedy | My Thirty Spot
Kirsten Krason | Sixth Street Design School
Steph Morgan | Modern Parents Messy Kids

Alt Summit Lessons: The Truest Version of You

If there was a theme at Alt 2013, it would be this: be your most authentic self.

At nearly every session I went to, during keynote speeches, and in conversations with new and old friends, the topic of individuality came up. Have you ever felt like a tiny rowboat in a huge ocean? I feel that way a lot, actually.

During one of the panels, I heard bigger bloggers talk about how they only started monetizing their blogs at a mere 70,000 page views per month. I got this sinking feeling that my blog may live in a small, dark corner forever.

And then I went to see Jasmine Star speak.

I’d never heard of Jasmine’s blog, so I was completely taken by surprise when this big personality came out of the tiny, gorgeous woman standing at the podium. She told the story of how she went from not knowing her way around a camera to booking a whopping thirty-eight weddings in the first year of her business as a wedding photographer, which she launched mere months after getting her first camera. To put that number in perspective, most wedding photographers book five or six clients per year.

How did she do it? Let me first say that Jasmine is a force. She’s incredibly smart, eloquent, and funny. But that aside, she has a story that she’s willing to share, and by putting it out into the world and being open to whatever it was that came back her way, she’s managed to become hugely successful as a blogger and as a wedding photographer.

Here are her thoughts on creating a memorable personal brand:

  • The best version of you is the truest version of you.
  • The thing that sets you apart may be the thing you’re hiding. (So stop hiding.)
  • Stop comparing yourself. Others may appear to have limitless everything, but what they don’t have is your personality, so showcase more of YOU.
  • Stand out by sharing who you are, not what you do.
  • Get used to the idea that some people won’t like you.
  • You’ll go further with two clients/fans who love you than with 20 that don’t.
  • Come up with your own ideas about what success looks like.
  • When all else fails, talk about food. (It even works in real life conversation.)

I walked out of Jasmine’s session completely energized, not just because I felt better about the fact that my tiny rowboat is unique, but because her story demonstrated that success comes when you stop being afraid of telling the world what you want — then going out and getting it by engaging with your community.

So instead of holing up in my condo, tweeting at the world and hoping for the best, it’s time to get out and show the world some love. This is the great gift that Alt gave me; a push to be social, have fun, and acknowledge my own ideas of success.

Wishing you could’ve been there to be inspired by Jasmine’s speech? Luckily for you, she captures it in a short film, which you can watch right now. Do it. It’s better than coffee and probably won’t take as long to finish. And the dose of inspiration you’ll get will last much, much longer.

Jasmine Star – Love your story from Anton Lorimer on Vimeo.

Jasmine Star owns the copyright to the image and video in this post. For more inspiration and to get to know Jasmine better, head over to her website.

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