Oh Joy

a growing family portrait... 29 Jan 2015

  Oh Joy Family Portrait / Thank You Card by Rifle Paper Co.

When Ruby was born a few years ago, I had custom thank you cards illustrated by the super talented Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. We sent them out to friends and family for all the amazing gifts and tokens of love we received. Once we ran out of the cards, I thought it would be fun to update it again with a slightly older Ruby. And since then, we now update it every year or so (with our newest shown above).

Oh Joy Family Portrait by Rifle Paper Co.

I loved the mini portraits so much, I started framing one of the cards from each year and hanging them by our front door. Sadly, our cat family has shrunk, but it's fun to see how our human family has grown over the last few years!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy. Painted portraits by Rifle Paper Co.}

a monday night ritual... 26 Jan 2015

Oh Joy / Monday Nights

Soon after before Ruby was born, we started a ritual of going out to dinner on Monday nights with two other couples/friends who have kids of the same age. I know it sounds odd to make Monday the night to go out (wouldn't Friday or Saturday make more sense as an end of week celebration?). It started as a way for us to try new food trucks in our neighborhood (ah, tiny Ruby in that photo!), and has since become a day for Ruby to see her friends regularly and a chance for us parents to vent over how tired we were or how good (or not good) our kids were being that week. And the last thing I want to do is make dinner on a Monday night (which is usually the busiest work day of the week for both me and Bob). 

Since then, every week for the last three years, we have a standing date at 5:30pm on Monday night. It's early enough that we can get the kids home for their 7:30pm bedtime. And on a Monday, you never have to worry about a reservation. Now that we all have two kids, we're like this giant table of twelve with six parents and six kids. It's sometimes insane trying to wrangle the kids, have our own adult conversations, and feed ourselves and the kids at the same time, but it's one of my favorite parts of my week. I enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner and kick off the week with a simple celebration of family and friends.

Do you guys have a weekly ritual you look forward to?

{Photo by Bonnie Tsang}

happy friday + teamwork... 16 Jan 2015

Oh Joy Studio Tour

I was never much of a team player when I was younger. I alway played solo sports (like karate and tennis) because I've always had a hard time trusting and relying on other people to get the job done. It's totally the control freak in me and something I have always wanted to get better at. However, a couple years ago, I knew a lot of big projects were on the horizon, so I stopped working from home and got a new studio space (which we revealed here). I had to hire a real staff for the first time ever because it finally became obvious that I couldn't do it all myself.

What went from one part-time assistant a year ago has grown into three employees who each have their own role, their own talents, and a very special place on the Oh Joy team. Without them, I could not have designed the entire Oh Joy for Target collection, created the new Oh Joy book, or created the many videos and editorial content we create, style, shoot and publish on a daily basis.

Oh Joy Studio Tour

Oh Joy Studio Tour

Decor8 recently posted some updated photos of the Oh Joy studio and captured a fun shot of my team below. I wanted to introduce them to you guys cause they are the ones behind-the-scenes, the ones who help make my visions come to life, and the ones (in addition to our amazing nanny) who help make it possible for me to be a working mother—because without their help, I really couldn't do it all!

Oh Joy Team

The funny thing is...they all applied for the same assistant job from this post I put up two years ago. But I ended up hiring each of them for different reasons, and they each blossomed into their roles and took on even more of a creative role than I originally expected. From left to right...

Julia does all the crafting and styling. While I originally hired her to do production for our videos, she showed me what she was capable of and now she not only handles production, but she also crafts our DIY's and styles our editorials on the blog and in our book.

Angie, our graphic and surface pattern designer, helps me design all of our licensed products. She is a whiz at patterns and is so good at knowing exactly what I'm envisioning in my head and bringing it onto paper. She also designed the Oh Joy book and creates the graphics for our videos.

That's me, Joy. Ever since building my team over the course of last year, I have taken a Creative Director role at Oh Joy. Which means I come up with the ideas, concepts, colors, and product direction. I also manage the business (securing new partnerships, clients, and jobs) which takes up more time then the fun, creative parts. I still write every blog post and help design products as well, but I rely on my team to help my vision come to life and execute them with their never-ending talent.

Casey was originally hired to be my adminstrative assistant and handle emails and scheduling. But she was also a budding photographer so I started having her shoot some photos for the blog from time-to-time. She began to get my aesthetic and has since grown into our full-time photographer (she shot the whole Oh Joy book, too!). She's also our office manager and makes sure that I remember to be where I need to be and keeps my meetings and schedule straight.

The last two years for me are when I went from a solo player to a team player and learned to let people help me. It's something I'm constantly working on, but when you have creative, passionate people by your side, it makes it much easier to let go and trust others to do what they do best.

Oh Joy Studio Tour

Also, if I can give one big piece of advice for budding creatives out there looking for a job or trying to grow at your current job, show your boss what you've got! All of the girls on my team had talents beyond what I hired them for, but because they put themselves out there and showed me what else they could offer, they all now get to do lots of different things on a daily basis.

P.S. You can see more photos of our studio space over at Decor8! It's fun to see how it's changed a bit since it was originally designed by Emily and Sam in 2013, like how we decorated that space above our storage cabinets with our paper lanterns!

{Photos by Kelly Brown for Decor8.}

a sneak peek at the new oh joy book! 13 Jan 2015

Oh Joy Book - coming in April!

You guys! We have a brand new book coming out in April!

My third book, Oh Joy! 60 Ways to Create and Give Joy is a colorful guide to help bring whimsy and joy to your life and into the lives of those you love. It's filled with quick, fun, and stylish (all brand new) projects from home decor to food to fashion as well as tips on how to shop for vintage, pick art for your home, and where I like to find inspiration. Inspired by my Make Someone Happy videos, this book is all about small things that make a big impact. It's about making your world a happier place and giving you the inspiration to make beautiful and joyful things for others as well.

Here's a peek at the cover (the real book cover will have some very fancy gold foil and neon that you can't see in this digital image). This book was a labor of love for sure. Making this book while pregnant last year was no small feat, but thanks to my team, we pulled it together and can't wait for you to see it. The book comes out on April 7th, but you can pre-order it now at these retailers:

In the US: Amazon | Target | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Indiebound | Booksamillion | Google Play | Harper Collins. In Canada: Indigo and Harper Collins.

I'll have a couple book parties in April, too, so I hope we'll get to celebrate together soon!

my mantra for 2015... 9 Jan 2015

Bring a little crazy into every day

Every year, we start fresh with what we hope becomes a newer, better version of ourselves. We write resolutions, sign up for gym memberships, eat healthier, and do the things we hope will stick for the rest of the year. Sometimes those things stick, and sometimes they don't. But no matter what the new year brings promise of a better year and being better to ourselves and to others. In the past (like in 2013), I've tried to give myself a pat on the back for things I did a good job at that year while also noting what needs to be worked on for the new year. This year, I've decided to give myself a personal mantra to just enjoy life a little bit more and not take it all so seriously. Here's the line that I will recite to myself when I am being my worst self—my stressed out, anxious, impatient, cranky, and tired self. And hoping that my best self—my happy, optimistic, sing-songs-badly-to-the-top-of-my-lungs self comes out a little more often this year...

Is there something that you're writing on your forehead this year?

the baby gift that made me cry... 5 Jan 2015

Oh Joy / Baby Blanket with Drawings by Ruby

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Year. I actually took some real time off getting down time with family and doing a lot of eating and hanging out with my kids...it was the closest thing I had to a real maternity leave! Coco (see above) is getting some serious chub on her, and I am in the "thank-goodness-that-first-super-hard-month-is-over" phase of having a newborn.

We received so many thoughtful gifts when Coco was born a couple months ago, but I had to share with you the one gift that made me weep like a baby. My Oh Joy team (Casey, Julia, and Angie), gave me a boxed filled with what looked like some pretty and colorful versions of your usual baby things. At first, I thought, "Oh, they totally know I like patterns, and they picked great colors." And then they went on to tell me that the design on the blanket was actually drawn by Ruby!

Oh Joy / Baby Blanket with Drawings by Ruby

With the help of Bob, they asked Ruby to draw the things she wished for her new baby sister. Bob had to help Ruby a little bit, but then they turned her drawings into a pattern and had the pattern printed on fabric. Angie's mother-in-law sewed them into a double-sided blanket and a baby night dress for Coco (complete with built-in hand mitts) and into a beautiful yellow scarf for me to wear.

Oh Joy / Baby Blanket with Drawings by Ruby

The "wishes" that Ruby drew for her sister included a cat, a top, and lots of circles and lines. Tears flowed from my eyes as I held the gift in my hands and thought about the level of thought that was put into it, how truly one-of-a-kind it was, and the number people it took to make it come together. And then they all started crying too. It was a sweet moment I'll never forget and a gift I'll treasure forever.

P.S. If you're inspired to make something like this for a loved one, the girls used Spoonflower to print the custom fabric.

{Photos by Oh Joy} 

i'd give you a hug if i could... 23 Dec 2014

Oh Joy Confetti

A blog is this weird mix of a personal journal and an online magazine. And as my work and life has transitioned and changed over the years, this blog has ebbed and flowed based on what I'm working on professionally, what I'm into personally, and what excites me in general. Sometimes those things relate to my family and role as a mom, sometimes they're about the products we've been creating, and sometimes they are beautiful and fun ideas that I simply want to share with you.

As I reach 10 years of blogging next year (I never thought I'd say that!), I'm working on figuring how this blog still fits into my point of view and what I want to share with you guys every day. I can't say I have it all mapped out all the time because the randomness of what you'll find here feels exciting to me. But I hope to use some time off for the holidays to come back to you with new enthusiasm, new creativity, and new things to see and read here. And please know, I'm always open to your feedback on what you'd want to see more of on Oh Joy in the new year (or something I used to share that you've missed!).

And finally, thank you (really, seriously, thank you) for reading this blog for however long or short you've been visiting. To be able to create things, share things, talk about things with you (and for you) has been a dream job I never knew existed but feel very lucky to have. Have an amazing holiday, and I'll see you back here in a couple weeks in 2015!

P.S. If you're looking for something to peruse over the holidays, see a few of my favorite posts from this past year below...

Oh Joy Party

The launch of the Oh Joy for Target collection!

One Desk, Two Ways

One desk, two ways...

Ruby's Big Girl Room

Ruby's big girl room... 

Party of 4 (and the video that came with this post)...

Oh Joy London

What I Did in London (part 1 and part 2)... 

Oh Joy Friend Tote

The Oh Joy friend tote!

Family Check-in Station DIY

Family Check-in Station DIY...

Oh Joy Ruby

How'd that baby get in your belly?

Dressing the Bump

The Dressing the Bump series...

Oh Joy Studio

The Changing Business of a Blog...

Oh Joy for Target Behind the Scenes

Behind-the-Scenes of making our Target collection...

Oh Joy Family

Our last photos as a family of three...

Oh Joy Coco

and Welcome Little Coco!

Thank you, friends! See you in 2015!

little indulgences... 19 Dec 2014

Oh Joy Family Holiday Card

As we prepare for the end of the year, I can't help but look back and think about how much life has changed this year. I finally started to learn how to let people help me (both personally and professionally), we made some progress on looking for a new home (more on that soon), I launched one of my biggest career goals, and—most importantly—our family grew to just the right size.

I used to think that I needed to go on fancy vacations, stay at five star hotels, or be decked out in really nice clothes to have that sense of satisfaction that life is good and to feel really, actually content. But what I've realized this year, is that it's the smallest things that feel special to me now—those things that make my life a little easier or feel like a special treat after a busy week...

...long weekends, groceries delivered to your door, massages at home, getting breakfast with friends, a gel manicure (because it actually stays on more than two days), sleeping in a bigger bed, and eating a big bowl of ice cream in said bed after the kids are fast asleep. Maybe I am just getting old, or maybe I am just becoming more content with who I am and what my life has become. There's less "grasping to get there" and more just being "happy to be here".

Our holiday card this year pretty much sums it all up. So, friends, as you reach the end of your year, I'd love to hear...what little indulgences make you feel content?

{Our holiday card by Artifact Uprising. Family photos by Katherine and Luke Griffin.}

"pablo picasso liked to make things blue" 11 Dec 2014

Oh Joy / Ruby

Three is kind of a magical age to me. My three-year-old can say so much, recall things I didn't even know she heard, yet also drive me insane with tantrums that come out of nowhere or insisting she do things herself even when she doesn't know how. I try and take a deep breath and remember the funny things she says that make me forget all about my less-than-patient moments. Here are some interesting things Ruby has been saying lately...

"Pablo Picasso liked to make things blue." (I think she learned that from this book.)

"Do little boys have little penises and big boys have big penises?" (Um, where do I start with that answer?)

"No pictures please!" (...as she waves her hands in front of her face with a smirk.)

"Daddy, you look hancy!" (I think she means handsome + fancy.)

"I want to have some nuts. Can I eat acorns like squirrels?"

In the middle of something very ordinary like taking a bath or going grocery shopping...
"Mama...I love you." (That one never gets old)

Oh, and she's teaching me Mandarin and Spanish!

P.S. I snapped this blurry photo with my phone the other morning as I was attempting to get Ruby dressed for school. She was running around in her PJ's insisting that she needed to wear multiple things on her head before she could get dressed. And yes, our bed frame is still wrapped in plastic because I can't decide what to get, hence I decided to just let it sit there on the floor.

happy friday + the gift of giving... 5 Dec 2014

The Gift of Giving

As the holiday approaches and we all get into the gift-giving mood, it's been really important to me to help give joy to others—especially those who don't have as much or have been born into unfortunate circumstances. So part of our annual family tradition is to help teach Ruby the gift of giving and learn what it means to be grateful for what you do have.

The Gift of Giving

One of our annual traditions for Christmas and Ruby's birthday since she was born has been to take her to donate clothes, toys, and books to other children in need. For every new present she gets, she has to donate something she already has. That way she doesn't keep getting more and more and understands that giving to others matters, too. 

The Gift of Giving

I've started working with the Los Angeles-based Baby2Baby organization this year for our donations. And for this holiday, we've been matched with another family of two girls to shop specifically for and help give them their wishlist of books, toys, and clothes that they need but their parents cannot afford to buy. When I took Ruby to shop for the girls, I told her that we were buying presents for other kids who need them. I kept reminding her that the toys weren't for her but it would make someone else very happy.

This is the first year that she really understood the concept and kept getting excited that she'll get to give the gifts to them in person soon. Sometimes we think these little ones are too small to understand what it means to give, but you'd be surprised how quickly they pick up on it and how they begin to feel joy from it, too.

I hope you all have a great weekend. How is it almost Christmas already?!?

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

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