Setting Her Designs on Creative Reinvention
Shaking things up now and then is good for the soul. Kelley Frost, owner of the fantastic home and décor store Frosted Home in Alamo Heights, calls it “Snow Globe Day.” “When I change up the store, it’s like turning the snow globe over, so it’s snow globe day. I come in, and I like to change things up.”
The same could be said for her career path. With PhD, MA, MBA, and LPC-S designations behind her name, she’s been a marketer, an educator, a licensed counselor, and now an entrepreneur and business owner. Frost, who holds a master’s from UTSA and a doctorate from St. Mary’s University, notes, “My career path has been circuitous, not a straight line. I have a process of reinvention. I don’t know that it was a completely strategic process, but it evolved that way.
“The common thread, I think, is creativity. The ‘San Antonio Business Journal’ did a story on how unique my approach was to bank marketing because I did some unusual things. Like at a grand opening, I had one of those machines where you grab money. It wasn’t typical, but it made sense to me. Then, in the classroom, I always tried to make learning fun and creative. And my counseling work? It’s really creative problem-solving.”
That creativity flourishes at Frosted Home, where you’re greeted by a mélange of color, inspiration, style, and positivity. It mirrors Frost’s own warm personality, bright eyes, and authentic style, immediately making you feel at ease. And it’s how she approaches her own home.
“Our homes are so important. Home is our respite, our refuge, our place of me. It’s also the place where we entertain and have friends and family together,” Frost explains. “I always look for how I make it more inviting, not just for others, but for me when I come home.”
Creating a place of comfort includes her commitment to counseling – and positive mental health. “I think many people think of counseling as being something that people do because they’re not well. And I think that the people who are the healthiest go out and seek counseling. I always tell my clients, ‘Don’t worry about yourself. Worry about the people out there that aren’t getting help’.”
A tireless volunteer – “It’s in my DNA to give back,” she explains – she is investing time to advocate about the importance of mental health. “I had my own experience with depression. It was a very serious, severe depression that I wouldn’t have ever expected as a person who generally leans more toward glass half-full. It crept up on me, and I didn’t even know what it was.”
Long before she became a counselor herself, she sought counseling. “Getting help, reaching out and recognizing what was going on. It’s so important to destigmatize it and for us to be able to tell people it’s positive, it’s good, it’s taking care of yourself. It’s self-care. We’ve got to be kinder to ourselves. One in four adults are going to be diagnosed with some sort of mental health issue. And anxiety and depression went rampant during COVID,” she explains.
“Nationally, Texas ranks dead last in accessibility to mental health care. And we also have the misguided idea as Texans that we can do it – ‘Well, pull yourself up by your bootstraps.’ That’s counterproductive. It truly takes a village. One of the things about mental health is connecting with another person to work through what you’re dealing with.
“People used to always ask me about my counseling practice, ‘You must just see some of the craziest things.’ No. I see what you’re going through – and what we’re all going through. We’re all one common human experience.”
She used her PhD dissertation to delve into another common experience: how midlife women manage career transitions. “My research showed that the biggest barrier holding women back from making changes – significant changes in their career – is fear. Number one, hands down, fear of failure, fear of being able to do something new. Fear is the big brick wall that we have to scale.
“For me, it’s embrace the fear. Stare it down. Say, ‘You know what? I got it.’ To be honest, if there wasn’t any element of fear – if we were fearless – we might all be jumping off buildings. So fear is there as a protector, right? But if we embrace it and say, ‘I know I have this fear, I know this is a bit scary’ – then follow that up with what it looks like to embrace that fear and go, I can overcome this.
“The fear is not the thing that has to stop me from this. The fear is the questions that you ought to be asking yourself anyway. Am I equipped or could I learn these things? Or is this a viable business proposition? You’ve got to have a dose of reality and then a little bit of just pure guts, too. There is always a little unknown. Just face it down.”
She credits goal-setting for helping her succeed. “It’s not necessarily numeric goals. When I taught marketing, we used to talk about SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals. Are they measurable? What’s the time frame? All that stuff. But I do like to set goals and accomplish them. I usually always have something that I’ve put in front of me to give me encouragement and move forward.
“What are the next steps? What are the things that I can move into and make an impact? What are the ways that I can do things maybe a little bit differently? But I think it’s goal setting. I think in what I’m doing now, we are always sort of changing up what we do.”
She also motivates herself by giving back. The list of San Antonio organizations she’s supported is long and distinguished. “My mother-in-law used to say, if you’re having a bad day, do something for someone else. And that resonates. Research bears this out: volunteering extends your life.
“It is trite to say you receive more than you give. But for me, it’s been an honor to be able to do things for organizations. The cool part about it is getting to be with people who want to give back. It’s a form of teamwork that surpasses anything. I think that you reap the rewards of giving back. What you see as the result when you can make a difference is remarkable.”
One of the ways she’s giving back now is by talking. Through ENGin, a nonprofit dedicated to helping every young Ukrainian confidently speak English, she’s helping a young Ukrainian woman improve her English skills. She read about the program in “USA Today” and decided to sign up. “Ukraine has the lowest English proficiency of the European countries, and ENGin is working to change that. I did the survey and was paired with Yarina, who is the most fabulous young woman. We meet by Zoom, and my hour with her weekly is one of my favorite hours. It inspires me. I look for opportunities like that to connect with people who are inspiring.”
She tackles challenges through two Ps: prayer and her husband, Pat. “I have a very solid, strong prayer life, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m constantly bringing things forth in prayer or stopping to pray with people. And it’s just one of my kind of things. But Pat? He’s my secret weapon. Having a partner, a husband who has my back and is just so positive. He always says his glass is 98% full, but I’m not sure it’s not 100. So when I’m having a particularly bad day, I go to him. He comes through. Whatever it is, he’s my cure for a bad day.”
She also stresses self-reflection. “When I can see that I am starting to feel like days are rolling into each other, and they’re not feeling as motivated, and I don’t feel excited about what I’m doing, that is a signal to listen to myself.”
It’s what she suggests to others. “What’s your inner voice saying to you? Your kind inner voice, not the critical one that wants to beat you up, but the one that says you’re good. Listen to that.”