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!


Creating a Salon Wall: Part Two

Gallery walls are sort of an obsession for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m very good at them. In fact, our gallery wall in the living room is hiding a number of oops nail holes. This all has to do with the fact that gallery walls involved math, and math just isn’t my strong suit. But no longer!

I found this nifty photo hanging tool at Home Depot and I got my office gallery wall up in about half an hour — that’s less than half the time it would have taken me using my old methods. As you saw yesterday, I laid the pieces out on the floor to get an idea about the arrangement. Then, starting with the bottom center piece, I began hanging. You’ll want to hang the bottom pieces first if you’re using this tool because otherwise it gets knocked around by whatever’s hanging above. Here’s how to use it:

Frock Files | Salon Wall

Hang your artwork on the tool’s hook. Hold the tool and the artwork up to the spot you’ve chosen on the wall. Remove the artwork, but keep the tool pressed against the wall. (Let’s pretend my wood floor is the wall — I didn’t have a trusty tripod to take photos against the actual wall.)

Frock Files | Salon Wall

Press the button beneath the hook you hung your artwork on. This will make a small prick in your wall to indicate where to put the nail or picture hanger.

Frock Files | Salon Wall

Remember that if you’re using a picture hanger you’ll want to line up the bottom of the hook with the hole. Using a nail? Just nail right into the indentation.

Frock Files | Salon Wall

Voila! The old method involved tracing each frame, cutting it out, eyeballing it on the wall, measuring the distance between the hook and the other frames…and usually not getting it right the first time. Totally time consuming and always a little frustrating. I didn’t make any extra holes in my wall this time!

The salon wall gives me the same feeling as adding just the right jewelry to an outfit. Because I’m a goldfish, I keep forgetting that it’s there and when I walk in to do work I’m pleased by it all over again! Such a small amount of effort for a big impact.

What part of your home makes you happiest?

Want to know more about the artist who painted the little painting featured here? Visit C Squared W to meet Clare!

Creating a Salon Wall: Part One

Frock Files | Gallery Wall

Each month of this year we’ll be focusing on a theme, and the theme for April is home.

It’s obvious by looking at this blog that I love food, crafts, and fashion, but I also have a very deep seated love of decor. For awhile, I even worked with an interior decorator. James and I have done a bit of decorating since I moved in last summer, but our biggest project was emptying out the second bedroom which was being used as storage space. By the time we painted the walls and got some furniture in, we were pretty worn out.

It took a couple of months for me to begin thinking about getting artwork up on the walls — but the time has come! I’ve been gathering art to create a small salon wall over the couch. Since this is my first real office, I wanted to put up artwork that’s meaningful to me, as each of these pieces are (with one small exception).

Frock Files | Gallery Wall

My instructions on hanging a gallery wall will be on tomorrow’s post, with a secret (and awesome!) method. But to start with, I laid all the pieces out on the floor.

Frock Files | Gallery Wall

The small painted canvas was a gift from my talented friend Clare Wilkenson, who recently moved from the Caribbean to Chicago. As soon as it arrived, I knew I’d use it in my office somewhere. It’s the perfect reminder of what wonderful friends I’ve made since I began blogging.

Below it is a photo of Tower Bridge in London. Since I lived there for two years and spent my childhood dreaming of London, a little bit of my heart is always there.

Frock Files | Gallery Wall

We found this mirror in a tiny boutique called Sugarcane in Honolulu when we were there last Thanksgiving. (You HAVE TO visit this store if you’re ever in town — so many treasures!) It cracked into a bunch of pieces en route back to Boston. Luckily, James’ mom and dad are experienced in working with glass and they put a new mirror in. Amazing, right?

And, yes, you can see the salon wall we have in our dining room in the reflection of the mirror. I love me some artwork.

Frock Files | Gallery Wall

When I partnered with Minted last Christmas, they gave me some credit to use on their site and I bought this print. They’ve been great fun to work with and they create beautiful things. I love that this print makes me think of all the opportunities that have opened up for me within the past year.

Frock Files | Gallery Wall

My beautiful friend Christine gave me this plate years ago. It’s from Japan, where she grew up and visits as often as possible. It’s a shout out to friendship, my ethnic background, and Hawaii (where Christine and I met).

The last piece is a page from the J.Crew jewelry catalog that I got in the mail last week. I thought the necklace was so pretty that I had to frame it. Not terribly sentimental, but looking at it makes me happy.

What’s in your dream workspace?

Check back tomorrow for my quick and dirty tips on creating a salon wall!

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