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a few of my favorite snacks lately...

My favorite snacks / Oh Joy!

I am a HUGE snacker. I'm someone who can't usually finish a whole meal, but instead can snack on things throughout the day. I also find that snacking helps with my blood sugar level (aka crankiness levels) in the afternoon so I'm pretty much always looking for snacks I can keep at work, at home, and in my car to avoid getting hangry like I can sometimes! Ha. Sometimes I share my go-to snacks on Instagram stories but wanted to post them here so they can stay together in an easy-to-find list for you guys. So here goes...

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my everyday jewelry...

my everyday jewelry

When it comes to jewelry, I love statement pieces now and then, but I really gravitate towards light and lovely pieces that I can wear and keep on every day. When I do Instagram Stories, you'll often spot my necklace or rings, and so I wanted to share a round-up of some of my favorites with you...

01. If you're looking for a classic piece made modern, this Leah Alexandra Star Moon Necklace makes for a beautiful update to a traditional locket. Add a couple photos inside of loved ones or your favorite quote.

02. I love this Starling Colette Small Pavé Necklace for laying with others. It adds a bit of color from the stones and goes with anything.

03. This Clare V x Maya Brenner AMOUR Necklace offers a lovely sentiment and is beautiful worn alone or layered with other pieces.

04. For a pair of everyday earrings that aren't simply studs, I love these Ariel Gordon Ruby Pave Huggies. They come in a few different colors and can be kept on all the time.

05. This Ariel Gordon Sweetheart Bracelet is a tad thicker then some of the other pieces here but makes a nice, everyday piece with simple heart shapes added to the pretty chain.

06. I love how this Maya Brenner Double Cut Bracelet goes with anything and is perfect for layering with other bracelets, thick or thin.

07. For a special piece with a bit of sparkle, this Ariel Gordon Diamond Dash Bracelet mixes everyday with a few tiny diamonds to make it a bit fancier than just a metal piece.

08. If you're looking to celebrate your family in a special way, this Ariel Gordon Horizon Birthstone Ring allows you to add five different birth stones. This makes for a great gift to give to someone or to hint that you want for yourself ;)

09. This Leah Alexandra Moonstone Antiquity Ring looks like a vintage ring passed down from generations. This piece is the boldest of the items shown here, but so, so light and pretty that it really can be worn every day.

10. I love the color of emerald, so this Leah Alexandra Green Gem Ring adds a nice pop of color if you want something that isn't too bold but also isn't too neutral.

11. You'll always find me wearing this Maya Brenner Initial Necklace with my kids' first initials on them. This is the piece I get asked about all the time!

P.S. For a limited time, Leah Alexandra is offering 20% off to Oh Joy readers with code: OHJOY20 at checkout.

back to school for parents...

back to school for moms...

“Back-to-school” usually means an exciting time in kids’ lives to meet new friends, new teachers and get back into the daily routine of learning and growing. However, that shouldn’t be limited to our children! Rather than waiting for a January New Year's resolution, I find that sending my kids back to school inspires me to go back to school myself to keep learning and growing. In partnership with Acer, here are some ways I'm going "back to school" this fall, too...

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how to shop for vintage clothing online...

how to shop for vintage clothing online / oh joy!

how to shop for vintage clothing online / oh joy!

If you know me, you probably know how much I love mixing vintage into my wardrobe (I even had the Oh Joy team get glam in vintage)! Shopping vintage used to be about scouring local thrift stores and flea markets to find hidden gems, but now it's become easier to find great vintage with all the online options out there. Shopping for vintage online allows you to shop from anywhere in the world from anyone's former closet. And, if you live somewhere where there aren't great flea markets, you can still access some of the stuff that other cities seem to have more of. Here are my 10 tips to shopping for vintage clothing online...

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travel essentials with kids...

travel essentials with kids

From recent travels with my kids, here are a few things I really love...in no particular order...

Ave Dee fanny pack - For when you need to carry some essentials, without carrying a full-on bag, this basic and durable fanny pack does the job!

Calpak Packing Cubes - I pack my whole family's clothes into one suitcase, so these are essential for dividing up clothes as well as for helping to keep things organized in a suitcase full of stuff.

Calpak marble suitcase - I love how light this suitcase is. Plus, the marble version looks way chic and no one mixes up your suitcase at the airport.

Parasol diapers - These are thin and light, yet still super absorbent, and take up less weight when traveling. Plus, you can order them in advance and have them delivered to your hotel or vacation rental.

Lil Gadgets headphones - For a road trip or an airplane ride, these headphone are perfectly sized for little ears and heads and make it easy to keep your little ones occupied when needed.

Toms shoes - When you need walking shoes that are easy for kids to put on and take off themselves. This style is one of my favorites.

Zig Zag guides - When traveling to a new city, it's always nice to get kids excited for things they might see. I love the format of these guides because the cards are fun for kids to pick up and play with as they learn.

Oh Joy for Target diaper backpack - I might be biased because this is our bag, but I use it with my kids as my go-to bag. It keeps all of their essentials and keep me hands-free for chasing after them!

10 on the go essentials...

On-the-go-essentials

Whether you're headed out the door for a business trip, a day at work, or just to run errands, here are a few of my favorite items lately for being on the go...

1. Ban.do phone case because this is just too fun not to want to carry around all day long.

2. Ban.do floral duffle for that overnight or weekend trip!

3. This is Ground cord taco to hold your cord basics while on the go.

4. Sunnylife travel radio for when you want to amplify those tunes whether indoors or out.

5. Poppin gold folio for business papers, meeting files, or projects.

6. Baggu 3D Zip Tote for shoes, extra clothes, or anything that needs to be put into a larger bag.

7. Lifefactory water bottle for the gym or just to stay hydrated throughout the day.

8. Frends headphones to keep your tunes to yourself while on the move.

9. Rifle for Le Sport Sac cosmetic bag because it's compact and easy to clean!

10. Owen & Fred luggage tag to keep track of your belongings no matter where you go.

organizing kids' clothing...

Tips for Organizing Kids Clothing

Last week, I shared some of my tips about making the morning rush a little easier to navigate by prepping a bunch of different things in advance. Today, in partnership with The Quaker Oats company, I'm going to dive a little deeper into how to organize/save kids clothes so that they are easily accessible. That way when you are getting the kids (or yourself) dressed it's easy to find everything and get on with grabbing breakfast and heading out for the day.

Tips for Organizing Kids Clothing

So your kid's drawers might look something like the above shot. And that's what my drawers looked like before I realized it was taking way too long to find stuff when things weren't folded consistently, things weren't labeled, and it was hard to tell what was what. Here are my four musts for getting it all organized...

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5 tips for making the morning rush easier...

5 tips for making the morning rush easier

I remember back in the day, when I used to wake up leisurely at a comfortable time. I could take a shower, make some breakfast, and have a breezy morning on my way to work. Now, my morning starts something like this...

    At 6:45am Ruby yells, "Mama! I'm awake! Come and get me!" Ruby wakes up Coco from her yelling and     Coco babbles in her crib, "MaMaMaMaMumMum".

My alarm clock (aka my kids) has rang, and I shoot out of bed, stumble into the bathroom, and as soon as I walk into the kid's room, it's GO time. If it's a normal weekday, I have exactly one hour from the time I wake up to get all of us fed, dressed, and out the door by 7:45am to get Ruby at school by 8am and me to work by 8:30am. Because the morning can be so hectic, the folks at Quaker Oats Company asked me to share my tips for making the morning rush easier. Each tip shaves off at least 5 minutes so if you do them all, you're saving a lot of valuable time that can help you have a great start to your day...

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how to create a portrait photo studio at home...

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Maybe you’ve decided you’d like to take a family holiday photo or some cute photos of your kids as gifts for relatives, but a professional photographer is out of budget. Or you simply waited until the last minute and need to take some photos ASAP. I've partnered with Olympus today to show you how easy it is to set up a simple backdrop within a small space of your home to take these photos yourself!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

1. Make your own seamless backdrop. All you need is a wall in your home or garage that gets good natural light that you can temporarily cover. Depending on how many people will be in the photo, the width you need might vary from 5-9 feet wide depending on how many people will be in the photo. If you plan to do this often, it's worth getting one roll of seamless paper in either 5 ft wide to photograph less than 2 people or 9 ft wide for bigger families with 3 or more people.

If you’re feeling crafty, simply buy a giant roll of white seamless paper and go crazy with paint to create the backdrop of your dreams. Or, you can make it easier on yourself by using fabric that already comes in a great color or pattern. Find a bed sheet in a fun pattern or buy a few yards of fabric at a local fabric store.

To hang the background, simply use thumbtacks or blue painters tape to adhere the top and sides of the paper/fabric to the wall, then let the rest of it drape down to the ground with enough room for the subject to stand on it. You'll need at least 10 feet long in total regardless of whether you use paper or fabric. With either option, it's so easy to roll up the seamless paper or just fold up the fabric and save it for next time.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

2. Lighting is key for taking a good photo easily. You want indirect, natural sunlight especially when taking the photos yourself. A professional photographer might know how to combat harsh lighting with diffusion techniques or with their camera settings, but you want to set yourself up for success. Usually the beginning of day and end of day are the best times to have indirect light, but it will depend on your location and where the sunlight comes through the window.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

3. Sit, stand, dance, jump! Just because you’re in front of a backdrop, doesn’t mean you need to stand still. If you’re using the backdrop for a baby’s monthly photo, you can have them sitting in front of the wall or laying down on the same background. This makes for a great way to have consistent baby update photos throughout the year because you can use the same fabric as a backdrop and they can go from laying down when they are tiny to sitting or standing as they get bigger.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

4. Use a remote shutter release. Often people feel limited because they don’t have anyone available to take a photo of them or of their family. So, if you don’t have a friend you could ask, you can do it on your own with your camera and a tripod. The camera we used to take these portraits, the Olympus E-M10 Mark II, lets you turn your smart phone into a remote shutter. So you can control when it takes the photo without relying on anyone else or having to run in and out of frame like a crazy person with a self-timer.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

5. Add props! While props can get cheesy, it doesn’t have to be a mustache and silly glasses. When you’re taking photos in your home, you have less of an outside environment to work with, so make it fun for yourself and bring in a few quirky items that will allow you to let loose and show off your personality and spirit.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

6. Family photos aren’t just for families with kids. If you’re a couple or a girl with a cute pup, your friends and family still want to see your face! So use this as a chance to make a great holiday card, framed prints for family, or custom thank you cards. 

You can create this at home studio any time of year especially when you always find yourself saying “I wish I just had a few really good photos of my family”.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Let's talk cameras for a second. We are always asked what type of cameras we use for Oh Joy photos. While we will happily share what we use, the quality of cameras we use is a higher end, professional camera that I wouldn't recommend to someone who needs a camera for personal use. So, I was pretty excited to get to try the Olympus E-M10 Mark II which is what was used to shoot all the portraits in this post. It’s a high quality camera at a price point that is more reasonable for personal use (under $600). It allows you to change lenses, you can shoot in manual (if you want), it has a mirrorless lens (which allows you to have a more precise focus), and it's small enough to carry around in your bag. It's a great compromise between a DSLR and a point and shoot and is an entry level camera that has features of a professional one and now I finally have something to recommend to the at-home photographer. Stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow on Instagram where we'll be giving away FIVE of these cameras!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Regardless of what camera you use (you can even use your iPhone if you need to), hopefully this will help inspire you to take more photos of you and your family within the convenience of your own home.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Olympus. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and original content like this for Oh Joy.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, backdrops by Ariel Fulmer. Coco's outfit by Such Great Heights. Special thanks to Olive Brodley and Ariel Fulmer.}

{los angeles} top 20 bites of 2014...

Salt Air

As my mind and body prepped for a new family member this year, 2014 included a ton of places I simply craved (which meant lots of sweets and lots of carbs). Here are my Top 20 Bites of 2014 in Los Angeles {in no particular order}...

1. The lobster roll from Salt Air is like the runway model of lobster rolls. It's not the meatiest out there, but it sure is pretty.

Good Girl Dinette

2. The blistered corn from Good Girl Dinette. I don't know what they do to this corn, but it has this amazing mix of crispy, sweet, and soft that is unlike any corn on the cob I've ever had.

Black Hogg Cookies

3. The Cap'n Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookie from Black Hogg (recipe here) has become my favorite chocolate chip cookie in the city.

The Hungry Cat

4. For a meatier lobster roll, the version from The Hungry Cat with those amazing fries surely satisfies (we love their Sunday brunch!).

Dinette

5. The best waffle I might have ever had is this one with a poached egg and bacon from Dinette.

Hart and the Hunter

6. Because toasts are the new black, this Trout Toast from The Hart and the Hunter is one of my favorites.

Eggslut

7. The "slut" (a coddled egg over potato pureé) from Egg Slut makes for a comforting and cozy morning meal.

Republique

8. The double chocolate cookie from Republique (middle) is gluten-free but you'd never know it was missing anything—it's chewy, sweet, crunchy, and simply out of this world.

Faith and Flower

9. The kimchi deviled eggs from Faith and Flower take deviled eggs to a whole new level.

Sweet Rose Creamery

10. Cinnamon Buttermilk Sherbet from Sweet Rose Creamery offers a fun twist on a cold treat.

(see the other 10 below the jump...)

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