Oh Joy

happy friday + work in progress... 11 Apr 2014

Oh Joy / Chloe Fleury

Oh Joy / Chloe Fleury

TGIF, friends! Are you looking forward to the weekend as much as I am? This week, I've been reminded—both personally and professionally—that no dream is achieved without some minor set-backs. But once you get through it, a sea of possibilities still lies ahead.

Above is a tiny peek of a video I'm working on with paper artist Chloé Fleury for the next Oh Joy for Target summer collection coming out at the end of May. If you look really close, you can see some tiny paper versions of some of the summer pieces! Oh, and the spring collection is only in stores for a few more weeks - so get them while you can!

Have a great weekend!

{Photos above by Chloé Fleury}

all cats go to heaven...(part 2) 9 Apr 2014

Oh-joy-lucy-cat

Sorry for the radio silence this morning, guys. Last night, our sweet cat Lucy passed away. She laid on the floor next to Bob's feet while we were eating dinner, let out a couple little growls, and went off to cat heaven. It was an unexpected and sad moment, but we were glad that we could be there with her as it happened. She was the cat that turned me into a cat person 14 years ago and allowed me to embrace the joy that animals can bring us.

I didn't really plan to share the news of another cat passing here my blog, since it wasn't too long ago that we said goodbye to our cat Bruce. But the difference this time is that Ruby was aware of Lucy. She knew that Lucy wasn't feeling well, and that I had taken her to the vet earlier that day. And Ruby was happy to see Lucy back at home and kept asking her, "Are you still sick, Lucy? Aw...you'll be okay." So when Lucy passed soon after we brought her home, we decided to tell Ruby about it and acknowledge that Lucy wouldn't be with us anymore. It all happened so fast that we didn't really know what to say except that "Lucy was really old and sick, and she's going to go play up in the clouds in cat heaven." Ruby hasn't heard the word "death" or "heaven" before so anything we said probably didn't make a whole lot of sense. She's been asking me all day, "I'm sad, mama. Where's Lucy? I want to see her..."

Because we've never had to introduce our toddler to this concept, I would love any tips from you guys on what you've told your children and how you explain the passing of a family member (pet or human). How real do you really get when they are so little?

happy friday! 4 Apr 2014

Oh Joy / Mama love

I had to share this outtake from our recent shoot for our cover of The Land of Nod catalog. I just love this photo and this moment so, so much. I hope your weekend is full of pure joy...just. like. this.

P.S. Thanks for having a good laugh about my little April Fool's post. See the bottom of that post for details on the real deal ;)

{Photo by Sasha Gulish for The Land of Nod} 

the oh joy friend tote! 1 Apr 2014

Oh Joy Friend Tote

You guys know I've been working on lots of new Oh Joy products lately. Well, I'm excited to share a peek at a new product coming soon. You know when you're hanging out, walking, and talking with a friend and her feet start to hurt?

Oh Joy Friend Tote

Oh Joy Friend Tote

Well, have no fear...the new Oh Joy friend tote makes it easy to pick her up and let her rest her feet while you carry her the rest of the way. It has two handles for extra reinforcement AND it's insulated to keep her warm. I hope you're as excited about this as I am!

UPDATE: Thanks for having a good laugh with me! The real deal behind this tote is that it was an incorrect (and crazy oversized) sample for a very real insulated tote that's part of the Oh Joy for Target summer collection coming in May. It will be smaller and a much more managable size in the same fun fruity pattern. So stay tuned (for real) for that ;)

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

5 tips for applying to pre-school... 21 Mar 2014

Oh Joy / Ruby

It's been a while since I've talked about what's going on in the parenting world part of my life lately, so I want to share a little bit about applying to pre-school. I didn't want to go all "crazy mom" and get stressed about this process. But I did. I got stressed, I made a crazy spreadsheet comparing all the pre-schools we were looking at for Ruby, and I was up at night worrying about if she'd get into any of them. And at the end of the day, it all worked out how it was supposed to. 

Just as a foreword to this post, I am fully aware that the process of applying to pre-school isn't as competitive everywhere as it is here in Los Angeles. In many parts of the country (and even outside of the U.S.), you just fill out an application, put down a deposit, and your child gets to go to wherever you want him or her to. But here in LA (and other large cities like New York and San Francisco), applying to pre-school can feel like the second coming of college applications. There are limited spots and a small percentage of the applicants actually get in. It can be super competitive. You're going up against kids of actors and astronauts and parents who all have really cool jobs.

For the privacy of my family and our community, I won't be talking specifically about where we applied or where Ruby is going to pre-school, but I thought the process was so fascinating that I wanted to share few tips with those of you who might be approaching this subject in your lives in the near future...

Oh Joy / Ruby

1. Decide what kind of school environment makes sense for your child and your family. Some parents want their kids to run free and enjoy playing while they can. Some parents want structure. There are play-based schools, Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, and schools that are a combination of them all. Some schools split up the kids by age and some mix them all together. During the process of touring schools, we decided early on that we wanted Ruby to have a mix of play and learning. We wanted her to go into kindergarten with a good comprehension of her letters and words, and be on her way to reading. And we wanted a school that would offer her inspiration and ways of learning that we wouldn't be able to provide on our own. 

2. Tour a few schools and watch how the kids interact with the teachers and with each other. Do the kids at the school seem interested and engaged? How do the teachers engage them? The biggest turn-off for us was when we visited a school and saw that a child was bored and sitting in the corner by him or herself, or playing in a patch of dirt when there were plenty of other things to do. You want your child to love going there and to constantly feel engaged.

3. Think about the most important factors for you. It's sort of like any other life decision—what's most important to you if you can't get everything you want? Location? Cost? Style of learning? Schedule? For us, it was about the style of learning, a school that offered early drop-off hours, and the location (something within 10-15 minutes of our offices or our home). 

4. Participate in Parent & Me classes if available. Some schools offer Parent & Me classes where, for a couple hours each week, you can experience a sampling of what the school has to offer. It gets your child familiar with a more formal school set-up, and you get to know the teachers and their style of instruction better. And, in my opinion, it really helps when you're applying to a school if the staff already knows you and your child. It always helps your application and can never hurt your chances. Plus, that way, the school can make its decision based on how well your child would fit into the school and not just based on what your family looks like on paper.

5. You don't have to sign-up at birth. When we were pregnant, people asked us if we were going to start looking at pre-schools and we were blown away. I hear some people do put their unborn children on pre-school waitlists, but I had no desire to do that not knowing what Ruby's personality would be like. It was much better that we waited until she was an actual toddler. We started looking at pre-schools soon after Ruby turned two, a few months before all the deadlines for that school year. We looked at five schools, applied to three, and she got into two of them. We honestly loved all the schools we applied to, but chose the final one based on Ruby's personality now and where we thought she'd flourish the most.

At the end of the day, your kids will turn out fine no matter where they go. The pre-school your child goes to doesn't dictate if they'll go to Harvard. I went to very ordinary pre-school and turned out fine. However, I wasn't the best traditional learner as a kid, and did best when learning visually, so it really made me want to give her additional opportunities that I didn't have. I think if you have choices, it's worth researching what's best for your family and your child. It can only enrich your child's learning and imagination.

If you have pre-school aged kids, did you guys have to go through this crazy process, too? Anything else you learned in your experience?

{Top photo by Bob Cho. Bottom photo by Casey Brodley.}

eating donuts in bed... 18 Mar 2014

my brain has too many tabs open...

Sometimes the bed's not made, my desk is a disaster, I miss a shower or two, I'm behind on a big project, and I eat dessert in bed after I've already brushed my teeth. This week is one of those weeks, and I'm just going to let it be...

{Print by Pair of Pears}

have a playful weekend! 14 Mar 2014

Oh-joy-ruby-zara-3

Oh-joy-ruby-zara-5

Oh-joy-ruby-zara-4

Have a great weekend guys! Hope you have some fun things planned. Bob has been away for work all week, and I can't wait to have him back soon.

P.S. A certain little someone is in the new Zara kids "brothers and sisters" lookbook!

my little polka dot doctor... 12 Mar 2014

Oh Joy / Ruby

Just when I've had the worst day or feeling stressed about something, Ruby comes along and says the best things, and I've completely forgotten about all the other moments that preceded that one. So today I must share with you a few things my 2 and a half year old has been saying lately...

Ruby: I wanna be a doctor, Daddy!
Bob: Great! What kind of doctor?
Ruby: A Polka Dot Doctor.

"I need to buy some money so we can get a new house."

"I'm gonna go type an email on my super duper computer."

"Daddy, please join us!"

"Hold on, it's loading..." (said while turning on her penguin humidifier)

"I'm going to my workshop in Switzerland. It costs $100 for 3 minutes."

And then, when your kids figure out your name...

happy friday + friend dates... 7 Mar 2014

Sandra Freij Photography

Sandra Freij Photography

Every Monday night, Bob and I meet up with two other couples who are our good friends and the parents of Ruby's besties. We take the kids and meet-up somewhere kid-friendly with good food and catch up and laugh and enjoy a simple dinner together. We've done it every Monday for almost two years, and it's one of our favorite nights of the week.

In our busy and hectic lives with work and kids and life, it can be so easy to stay at home and forget to make meet-ups with friends a priority. Lately, I've really been trying to start/continue/pick-back-up-on regular dates with more of my good friends. You know...like a weekly dinner, breakfast, coffee, a workout session, etc. If you can make it happen with a handful of close friends, it's so, so good for your soul and for your friendship.

So, go out this weekend and make a date with a friend, yes?!?

{Photos by Sandra Freij}

happy friday + flowers among the rain... 28 Feb 2014

Oh-joy-bando-flowers

We're prepping for a special party tomorrow to celebrate the Oh Joy for Target line. Of course, the one time a year it rains in Los Angeles is the weekend of our outdoor garden brunch. So we'll just have to get extra creative and show you how a garden party can look beautiful indoors, too. You can see some peeks tomorrow on my Instagram and I'll be posting about the party soon after. 

Also, thanks so much for your helpful comments about house hunting and your kind words about the new site! 

Have a great weekend!

{Photo of Ban.do flowers on my DwellStudio}

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