Oh Joy

ruby's 4th birthday party! 12 Oct 2015

Oh Joy / Ruby's 4th Birthday

Today, my sassy and spunky Ruby turns four. Over the weekend, we celebrated with a small party at a local dance school where the kids learned some fun hip hop ballet moves and shook their booties to T.Swift, Justin Bieber, and Meghan Trainor. It was pretty cute to watch...


ruby's 4th birthday prep! 7 Oct 2015

A Fruity Dance Party

You guys, Ruby turns FOUR on Monday! This weekend we are celebrating her birthday with a small party with a handful of her four-year-old friends with a hip-hop/ballet party at her dance school. I usually share photos of our parties after they take place but I thought it would be a fun change to show you what I am setting up, too. So you can see how it all comes together afterwards.

Here are some of the things I've prepped for the party...

01. Decor - When you're having a party in a space that is not your home, I'm all about getting things that are easy to set-up on the fly. Often, you only have 30 minutes to get everything together so anything that pops-up and stands up easily is very helpful. I'll be using a bunch of these fruit poufs to decorate the little tables that the dance school os providing.

02. Outfits - Since it's a fruit theme, Ruby and Coco will be decked out in their fruity gear. Ruby's pairing her favorite strawberry tank with this crazy, amazing pom-pom skirt we got just for her birthday and some gold ballet flats for dancing. Although Coco can't quite dance yet, she'll be crawling around in her orange romper and moccasins.

03. Table - Paper plates are one of my favorite things ever because it makes clean-up so easy and they come in the best colors and patterns. I got a ton of fruity paper plates, cups, and trays. Her cake will be chocolate and fruit-filled and topped with this glittery cake topper.

04. Balloons - We won't have too many balloons, but just a giant watermelon to hang outside which I'm planning to combine with some hanging fruit poufs that I'll have leftover from the table decor.

05. Favors - For favors, we made fruity wands that the kids will get to dance and play with. And we're giving them a fun fruit tattoo and these cool kaleidoscope cameras.

I've personally requested a lot of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift songs, so there might be some mamas (aka me) dancing with the kiddos, too!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Joy Cho}

simple syrups, simple homemade sodas... 2 Sep 2015

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

I love sparkling drinks...sparkling water, homemade sodas, anything with bubbles just makes me happy. Since traditional soda isn't so great for you, I'm always looking for ways to make my own version at home with real fruit and juices. An easy way to make homemade sodas is to use flavored simple syrups. You can make them in advance and serve with sparkling water at a moment's notice. And, they have way more concentrated flavor then simply mixing sparkling water with juice. All you need to do is choose a flavor and make a simple syrup and adjusting the amount of sugar based on the natural sweetness of fruit. Here's how and a few of our favorite flavors...

To make a simple syrup...

1. Combine ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Stir in (1 cup fruit) and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until fruit has broken down, about 6-7 minutes.

4. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve; let cool.

5. To serve, whisk together simple syrup and 4 cups of soda (or add more or less syrup to your desired level of concentration. Muddle or garnish with mint or additional citrus if needed.

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

A few of our favorites shown above...

Strawberry-Thai Basil Soda (orange-red with green herbs)

1. Add 1 cup water and ¾ cup sugar to a saucepan on low heat for the syrup base. Add 1 cup trimmed and chopped strawberries and ½ cup Thai basil leaves.

2. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. The strawberries should get soft and the leaves will wilt. After 6-7 minutes, take the mixture of the heat and allow to cool.

3. Once cooled, pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids to yield flavored syrup.

4. To serve, combine ½ cup syrup with 2 cups sparkling water and top with the juice from ½ a lemon. Add more syrup to taste for sweetness.

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

Blueberry-Ginger Soda (fuschia)

1. Add 1 cup water and ¾ cup sugar to a saucepan on low heat for syrup base. Add 1 cup blueberries and ½ cup ginger, peeled and chopped.

2. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. The blueberries should blister. After 6-7 minutes, take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool.

3. Once cooled, pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids to yield flavored syrups.

4. To serve, combine ½ cup syrup with 2 cups sparkling water and top with the juice from ½ a lemon. Add more syrup to taste for sweetness.

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

Grapefruit-Juniper Berry (light yellow)

1. Add 1 cup water and ¾ cup sugar to a saucepan on low heat for syrup base. Add 2 tbs fresh juniper berries (lightly crush the berries first) and 5-6 peels from a grapefruit with as little pith as possible.

2. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. After 6-7 minutes, take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool.

3. Once cooled, pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids to yield flavored syrups.

4. To serve, combine ½ cup syrup with 2 cups sparkling water and top with the juice from ½ grapefruit. Add more syrup to taste for sweetness.


Enjoy! These would be a great addition to Labor Day fun this coming weekend!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, recipes by Ariel Fulmer, styling by Ariel Fulmer and Joy Cho. Lidded bottles from Amazon, Anne and Kate glitter swizzles.}

summer toasts... 12 Aug 2015

Chocolate Almond Coconut Toast

Toasts. They're so hot right now. Every trendy restaurant in Los Angeles carries some version of avocado toast. It's like part snack/part lunch/and all very, very tasty. Today we're sharing three of our own versions of toasts that are so easy to make and so, so, good (and non of them have avocado in them)!

1. Chocolate Almond Coconut Toast (above)
Toasted brioche (cut into strips) + Hey Boo coconut jam + toasted sliced almonds + shaved chocolate + toasted coconut = a sweet, creamy, chocolate-y snack that feels like a perfect dessert that melts in your mouth.

Cucumber and Goat Cheese Toast

2. Cucumber and Goat Cheese Toast
Toasted sourdough boule bread (slices cut in half) + goat cheese + thin cucumber slices + green grapes + cracked pepper = a creamy and savory toast that's perfect as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvre. The grapes add a bit of sweetness to contrast the bit of bite with the cracked pepper.

Peach Ricotta Toast

3. Peach Ricotta Toast
Toasted baguette (cut at an angle) + whole milk ricotta cheese + sliced peaches + crushed roasted pistachios + honey drizzle = a mix of sweet and savory that makes for a great afternoon snacks both for little kids and big kids alike!

Do you guys have any favorite toast combos you love? 

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Ariel Fulmer for Oh Joy}

fruity frozen sips... 3 Mar 2015

Fruity Frozen Sips / Oh Joy

Since I'm on a fruity kick lately, I'm all about ways to get my fruit juicing game on. Inspired by my love of color-blocking, we made these fruity frozen milk bottles which make for a super easy and colorful way to serve up the fruity fun for a girl's brunch or for a kids' birthday party.

Fruity Frozen Sips / Oh Joy

Simply fill glass milk bottles or small mason jars with juice (we used mango, grapefruit, and pineapple juice), then prop the jars at an angle in the freezer. Let them freeze until they're solid. When you're ready to serve the bottles, pull them out of the freezer and pour flat or sparkling water into the top half and finish off with a straw. The frozen section will stay cold for a while, so keep refilling your sips as needed for a pretty and punchy beverage!

P.S. Our fruity ice cubes from a couple years ago...

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

apple and pear nachos! 25 Feb 2015

Apple and Pear Nachos

I have to admit...I've been eating terribly lately. Because I'm nursing, I'm hungry ALL THE TIME up until the minute I fall asleep. Which means you'll find me snacking on chips, nachos, crackers, and chocolate at 10pm and then falling asleep soon after. I try and tell myself I'm burning off the calories by feeding my baby, but that excuse only works for so long. So, we challenged ourselves to come up with a fun and filling snack that I could eat after dinner, yet has good fats and some protein to keep me full through bedtime.

And so we came up with these Apple and Pear Nachos as an update to those full-of-toppings and not-so-healthy nachos we know and love. Here are three fruity alternatives using apple and pear slices topped with dried fruits, nuts, and other fun little ingredients...

Apple and Pear Nachos

1. Granny Smith apples with marshmallow fluff, pomegranate seeds, chocolate chips, and granola. 

Apple and Pear Nachos

2. Asian pear slices topped with nutella, dried mango, coconut, and toffee. 

Apple and Pear Nachos

3. Bartlett pears with dulce de leche spread (from Trader Joe's), sliced almonds, white chocolate chips, and pecans.

Simply slice the fruit horizontally (cutting through the core), cut out the seeds, and top with whatever you like! Just like regular nachos, the fun part is in the combinations you come up with as toppings. We tried out alternates to peanut butter, but of course, you can use classic peanut butter or almond butter as a spread for more protein. 

What other ingredients would you guys top these with?

{Photos by Casey Brodley, production and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

candied apples! 10 Nov 2014

Oh Joy Candy Apples

Oh Joy Candy Apples

With fall in full swing, we've been all about autumn treats lately. Pumpkin-everything, hot cocoa, and apples on sticks. Here's our version of the candied apple with a few our favorite toppings!

{Photos by Casey Brodley and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy. Fabric by Nani Iro from Shimgraphica.}

a farmer's market haul... 31 Jul 2014

Farmer's Market Fruit on Waffles

Farmer's Market Fruit

Some people get excited about a makeup haul or clothes haul, but one of my favorite things to bring home is a big 'ole batch of the fruit from the farmer's market. This weekend, I found green figs, golden raspberries, and cherriums (a mix of cherry and plum), and I was in fruit heaven... 

What kind of summer gems have you guys found at your local markets?

{Photos by Casey Brodley and Styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

mango chia seed pudding recipe... 27 Jun 2014

Mango Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Lately, I've been in a breakfast rut—especially on during the week. I find myself making Ruby's breakfast and heading to the office quickly without feeding myself. I've been searching for something healthy, yet filling, and Casey (our office manager) suggested one of her favorites—chia seed pudding. So we came up this mango version which is tasty, filling, really refreshing for summer (and actually really good for you). Have you guys tried chia seed pudding before? Today, we're sharing our version of the recipe with you. It's super easy to make and full of protein, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants...

Mango Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Mango Chia Seed Pudding
(serves 2)

You'll need:

-1/2 cup coconut milk

-1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

-1/3 cup chia seeds

-1 ripe mango, skinned and sliced

-optional toppings: fresh mango cubes, coconut flakes/toasted coconut, fresh pomegranate seeds, and almond slices

Here's how:

Blend the mango, coconut milk, and vanilla almond milk together until smooth. Stir in chia seeds, cover, and place in refrigerator. Let set for at least 1-2 hours. Then serve with toppings of choice (we like shredded coconut, almond slivers, pomegranate seeds, and mango cubes). Enjoy!

P.S. If you don't like coconut milk, you can use a full cup of almond milk instead.

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

fruity summer striped ice cubes... 20 May 2013

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

As summer approaches, I always find myself craving fresh fruit and juices of all kinds. I love smoothies, but it's not always possible to whip out the blender and make a fresh one whenever I want. So I decided to make these pretty (and practical) juice and smoothie ice cubes, which can be frozen and saved to have on hand anytime you need a juicy kick!

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

They can be added to some sparkling water for a dose of fruit, or stored in the freezer so you can have smoothies on hand whenever you want some (just put a handful of the saved cubes in a cup and into the fridge the night before). Plus, they are so, so beautiful to look at in a pretty glass with a cute straw!

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

Oh Joy | Fruity Summer Striped Ice Cubes

Here are some of my favorite combos and flavors to use, shown above:

JUICES: I used store-bought grapefruit juice, mango juice, limeade, and made some strawberry/beet juice.

SMOOTHIES: I combined kiwi, cucumber, mint and lime make for a beautiful green smoothie blend.

COCONUT MILK: I layered a lot of these cubes with coconut milk, which can be poured right from the can.

Simply add layers of pre-made juice, smoothies, and/or coconut milk (which I love for its color and for a creamy touch) to standard ice cube trays. I've even been adding veggies (like carrots, beets, and cucumbers) to my smoothie mixes for Ruby, to get her those extra vitamins whenever possible! 

What kinds of fruity ice cubes would you guys make?

{Photos: Julia Stotz. Art direction and concept: Oh Joy. Production Assistant: Michelle Tu.
This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target's #SummerUp Pinterest board. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting these sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for Oh Joy.}


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