Oh Joy

how motherhood has changed me... 28 Apr 2016

how motherhood has changed me

I try not to get all "Ma, ma, ma" (that's like "blah, blah, blah" but for mom things) here on this blog. But every so often I do enjoy reflecting on what's hard, nice, or just unexpected about this stage of life I'm in called Motherhood. I recently got to preview the new movie, Mother's Day, that comes out this weekend (do you know how much I love ensemble casts?!?), and both the humor and errors of motherhood in the film made me reflect on how I've changed since welcoming my first nugget 4.5 years ago.

I know that being a mom isn't for everyone, but for me it's made a big difference in how I see myself, how I present myself, and what I care about. Here are a few examples...

I worry less about what I look like and worry more about being a good person. I can't tell you how much time I spent in my 20's obsessing over my soft and squishy not-so-flat stomach. I was so self-conscious about it and envied girls who could wear bikinis and bare their mid-driffs. Now, my mid-section is even softer and squishier and covered in stretch marks. But I don't care at all. It's the product of carrying my children. Ironically, adding to my imperfections made my insecurities about it go away. Now, I try and make sure not to litter on the street. I make sure I am extra polite to people I come across during my day. And I try and give people the benefit of the doubt and hope that driver cut me off because he had a bad day. I worry about other stuff, but my squishy stomach is not one of them.

I focus more on “today” than “one day”. Sure, I set big goals for my career and I have dreams of buying a dream home or going on great trips. But I used to spend way more time thinking about the future than living in the present. Yes, life is short and we don't know how long we'll be here. But also because I've realized that every day is full of magic and simple things, and those are the moments you remember someday when you get old and reflect back on your life. I'll remember our weekly trips to the farmer's market or our picnics in the park. I'm better now at opening my eyes to all the treasures of life happening right now.

I don’t care what strangers think about me, I care what my family thinks about me. I used to spend so much time making sure I came across in just the right way...to COMPLETE STRANGERS. I worried that the guy at the take-out place thought I was "too Asian" because I ordered the Chinese Chicken Salad for my dinner. I used to put on make-up just to open the door for the UPS delivery person. Why did I even care? Now, it only matters to me what the people close to me think. Was I being too short with my husband during that moment of stress? Did I handle the situation with Ruby correctly where I was both firm but loving? Did I remember to tell my parents I love them the last time we FaceTimed?

I appreciate time to myself more than ever. I used to spend a ton of time by myself with endless hours to do whatever I wanted. I didn't realize how precious and rare that time would someday be. I love my kids and their constant energy, but sometimes this Mama just needs some time quiet time to myself. Now, I revel in that trip to Target to buy toothpaste after the kids go to bed, the quick moment when I can get a latte at my local coffee shop all by myself, or even just getting an eyebrow wax where I can lay still in the quiet (even if hair is being yanked off my face). It feels like the most luxurious treat!

Are there ways that motherhood has changed you? I'd love to know...

P.S. If you like feel good comedies, check out Mother's Day which comes out in theaters tomorrow (starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts & Jason Sudeikis). I went from cracking up to bawling my eyes out within a matter of an hour.

*This post is in partnership with Open Road Films. All words are my own.  

reliving the hobbies of my youth... 13 Apr 2016

Oh Joy youth

Every few years, I go through an exercise rut. Either I get tired of what I have been doing or (like recently), I haven't been exercising as much as I would like to. Every single time, what brings me back to a good place is revisiting the hobbies (or in this case, the sports) of my youth. I used to play varsity tennis in high school and have played off and on throughout my adulthood until I got pregnant with Ruby five years ago. I was also a second degree black belt and have done a lot of other martial arts off and on when I can find a great place to train.

Last night I played tennis for the FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS. I remember the last time I played was in the spring of 2011, and I was about 8 weeks pregnant with Ruby. Since it was so early in my pregnancy and I had miscarried a couple months earlier, I was paranoid and worried I'd bounce the baby around too much if I kept playing during my pregnancy. So I opted for lighter impact exercise...and then life took over and business took over and my priority on my kids took over...and then five years went by.

But giving myself some time for myself last night, focusing on my health, and doing something that I love to do was SO, SO great. I worried I'd completely suck not having played in so long, but your body just knows what to do. I certainly wasn't my best and I was VERY out of shape. But I wasn't terrible and that felt great.

Are there hobbies or sports you've picked up again in your adulthood? Like a comfy sweater, I always feel like there are things you can keep coming back to and it will always just fit...

{Vintage photos circa 1996/1997. And yes, check out that half black/half red uniform as well as the "before" and "after" of me breaking a piece of wood with my bare feet when I used to be young and agile.}

happy easter! 25 Mar 2016

Oh Joy Pattern Play Eggs

Happy Friday all! We're heading to Washington D.C. to spend Easter at the...wait for it...WHITE HOUSE! Eeek! A few months ago, I was asked to design the logo for this year's Easter Egg Roll at the White House so we'll be joining the festivities with the Obama's on Monday! Then, taking a little trip to see family in Philly while we're East side. I hope you have a nice weekend and a Happy Easter for those of you who celebrate it! 

P.S. For those of you in the Los Angeles area, I'll be speaking at Create & Cultivate on May 7th on a panel called "The Balancing Act of Mother and Mogul". Hope to see some of you there!

{Photo by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester}

happy friday + lifting each other up... 11 Mar 2016

Women-lift

I came across this amazing gif the other day by Libby Vanderploeg which perfectly sums up how I feel about life, friends, work, and just existing on the earth right now. It's basically that we all need each other in some way to lift each other—whether personally, professionally, in real life, or virtually.

I hope you have a great weekend full of those who really bring out the best in you!

how to (not) do it all with two kids... 7 Mar 2016

Oh Joy Family

Throughout the course of my 4 short years as a parent, I have shared a few posts here and there with you about the struggles of being a working parent, feeling guiltyjuggling it all, and how I attempt to keep it all going. "How do you handle the work/life balance?" or "How do you do it all?" is probably the number one question that I get asked when I speak at conferences or when I get to chat with Oh Joy readers in real life. After the birth of both of my kids, I experienced a very long string of guilt as I eased my new baby into my life and eased myself back into work and attempted to figure out how all those pieces would come together. The short answer to those questions is that I don't "do it all", and it's taken me until recently to really be okay with that...

READ MORE...

an easy way to get out of a creative rut... 1 Mar 2016

An Easy Way to Get Out of a Creative Rut

I gotta admit…every few months, I will find myself in a creative rut. I love my job, and I love all the different things I get to do. But I’m always challenging my brain to think of new ideas and new designs that sometimes the ideas just don’t come out. When you’re stuck in a creative rut, my biggest advice to others (and what I try and practice myself) is to try something different—go workout, visit a new place, or take a fun class! These are all things I try and do but these things also involve having extra free time to myself (away from work and away from my family) that it does become harder to find time to really fit them in.

Recently, I’ve been getting my creative juices flowing again by taking cool classes online through Skillshare. With little free time, I love that it’s something I can do in the evenings after my kids go to bed on my own schedule and at my leisure. I can just sit in my bed with my laptop or phone and learn some new and fun! So I’ve partnered with Skillshare today to show you some of my recent favorites classes that I think you might enjoy too….

Skillshare Grilled Cheese Class

The Perfect Grilled Cheese - There are some things in life worth mastering, and I really feel that knowing how to make a really good grilled cheese sandwich is one of them. The head chef at Plated goes through the nuances of making this incredibly satisfying carb fest of a sandwich. On a rainy or snowy day, when you just want some comfort food, you'll be glad you watched this.

Skillshare Travel the World on a Budget

Travel the World - Traveling has always been one of those things I feel like I didn't do enough of when I was younger. Traveling internationally always seemed like a daunting thing to do that needed a lot of savings. This class follows the travel bloggers How Far from Home as they teach how to travel the world on a budget. It inspired me to take a chance and go on more faraway adventures with my family, and it's always fun and inspiring to see how other people live in a way that is so different from how you go about your day.

Basic Watercolors with Paper Fashion

Basic Watercolors with Paper Fashion - I love the work of Katie Rodgers so to get an inside look at her process was really fun. Watercolor has always seemed so intimidating to me as a medium because it's harder to hide any mistakes than with other kids of paint. I enjoyed learning some simple tips on how to add texture and shadow in watercolor...and I love that she uses shows as an example here.

Make Ahead Breakfasts

Make Ahead Breakfasts That Will Change your Day - The morning rush is one of the biggest stressors of my day. I loved learned about these easy "make ahead" breakfasts to help save time during those weekday mornings that are just go go go!

Creating Hand-Drawn Wallpaper

Creating Hand-Drawn Wallpaper - I often get asked how one can turn their drawing or artwork into a pattern. And I love the way that Julia Rothman (one of my favorite illustrators) demonstrates how to do it in a very tactile and understandable way.

Getting inspiration wherever and whenever you can is always my best fix for being in a creative rut. For me, I enjoy learning about things in my world (and and design) but it's also sometimes even better to learn about things I'm not as familiar with (cooking and travel tips). I hope this will inspire you to learn about some new things in your world, too!

For Oh Joy readers, Skillshare is offering this incredible deal of 3 months of Skillshare Premium for only $0.99 (it's usually $96!) through March 31, 2016. Click here to sign up!

{Top photo by Casey Brodley and styled by Julia Wester, other images are stills from videos}

happy friday + a 24 hour escape from reality... 26 Feb 2016

Oh Joy / photo by Jennifer Young and Geromino

This weekend, I'm headed to Vegas with a couple friends to see BRITNEY SPEARS! Besides the fact that I am reliving my youth through pop music concerts, this will be the first time that I am leaving my kids overnight for...F-U-N. I've been away from them for a night or two when I've had to go out of town for work but never because I wanted to just do something for myself. I love my family more than anything, but every once in a while, a mama needs a break, too. So for a short and sweet 24 hours, I'll be with my girlfriends, having a really nice dinner, and then dancing up a storm to old school Britney beats.

What do you guys have planned for the weekend? I hope you have some R&R whether it's all weekend or in perfect small doses.

P.S. Oh, and if you haven't seen this Parent Fantasy Hotline video, you must. It's pretty funny to watch both from a parent and non-parent perspective.

{Photo by Jennifer Young + Geronimo}

happy friday + how to be you... 19 Feb 2016

Oh Joy Pattern Play

Happy Friday guys! I recently wrote an article for Time called "How to Be You". It was an important topic for me to write about as a woman who was one a girl and a teenager with low self-confidence who spent so long trying to figure out who I was in this world. But it was also important to me as a creative person and business woman trying to figure out my style and what makes me and my business...well, me. Here is an excerpt from the piece below...

"There are lots of things I went to school to learn how to do: I’ve learned about graphic design, typography, advertising and various styles of art—like paper making, sculpture and figure drawing—that opened up my imagination and allowed me to get my hands dirty. But there’s one thing you don’t learn in school that’s so, so important: How you can be you.

Learning how to be “you” is actually really hard. We spend much of our lives (if not our whole lives) trying to figure that out. Here are some strategies I’ve found helpful as starting points..."

If you have a chance to read it, you can find the full article right here...

{Photo by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester. Decals by Oh Joy for Target.}

happy friday + get out and do something different! 5 Feb 2016

Oh Joy Pattern Play

Happy Friday friends! We made this fun scene at the office the other day, and I love what it symbolizes. It could be about drawing "outside the lines" or thinking "outside of the box", but to me—right now, it symbolizes just trying something different. As we head into the weekend where we have our usual routine and plans, I can often get stuck in a rut of the same schedule, the same park to play at, and the same breakfast every weekend with my family. But this weekend, we're gonna switch it up and do some new things, take the kids to some new places, and just get out of that safety of the usual.

Hope you have a great weekend full of new things as well!

{Photo by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester. Pillow by Arro Home.} 

being mindful... 2 Feb 2016

5 Tips for Being More Mindful

I have to admit. Sometimes I just go about life and I forget about myself. Did you see this video with Jada Pinkett Smith? She’s so right about remembering to take care of yourself so you can be better equipped to take care of others, too. This month, I’ve partnered with Aetna to share some of my favorite tips for being mindful and to help make this year better than ever.

Mindfulness includes a lot of things like managing emotions, taming your mind, calming your body, and giving yourself a break. Because I need to be reminded of these things too, here are five of my favorite tips on ways to be more mindful today and any day where you just need to give yourself something, too...

READ MORE...

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