Oh Joy

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...

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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...

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tell me why? 21 Jan 2016

Oh Joy

I consider myself a pretty happy and positive person. And I am trying to raise pretty happy and positive children.

As Ruby get older (and expresses more and more opinions), I have started to hear things come out of her mouth like, "Gross!", "Yuck!" or "I don't like that"—usually in response to a new food or to clothes I pick out that she doesn't want to wear. Initially, my response was to tell her that it wasn't nice to say things like that. (My least favorite type of people are those who complain about everything but do nothing to fix it...so I certainly didn't want to be raising a complainer).

But then I realized that it's okay not to like something...there are things we all don't like. Rather than complain about something just for the sake of it, I now challenge her to tell me why she doesn't like something. If she doesn't want to eat a certain food, then she has to at least try it once and then tell me why she doesn't like it. If it's because it's too bitter or the texture is weird, then I know it's something that her mini tastebuds just aren't ready for yet. But if it's just because it's "green" or because she doesn't want to, then it's not a good enough reason for me. Or if she doesn't want to wear an outfit that I picked out for her and her reason is because "the dress doesn't twirl and my friends will like it better if it twirls". Well, then that's when I know her real motives and the fact that even at four, kids are already aware of wanting to please their friends. Then, that helps me decide if I'll oblige her and change her outfit or if it's a "you get what you get and you don't get upset" situation.

If you ask anyone (not just a kid) why they don't like something, the answer you receive sometimes informs SO much more than the original point of the conversation...

Do you guys use this tactic at all? It's something that's been helping us a lot with a 4-year-old going on 14-year-old!

being there for bedtime... 12 Jan 2016

Being there for bedtime

These days I can't say I'm the most social butterfly. I've learned that I don't have to say "yes" to every party, every invite, or every instance that someone asks to hang out. Sure, I'd love to go to everything. But I can't. And I choose what's worth it. Life with two kids has finally gotten a bit better (the first year was INSANE and I cried a lot). We're (mostly) in the swing of things, we have our new routine, and I'm able to take a bit of "me time" to have dinner with friends or go out and be social when I can. But I really limit what I say yes to and what I'll go out to.

My main thing is that I have to (need to) be there for bedtime, and all of my plans are based around that. I say no to 99% of things that conflict with bedtime and worry that I might seem lame for saying "no". But it's unless I am out of town for work or there's something exceptional going on, I plan date nights with my husband, dinner with friends, or any social events around my kids' bedtime. All of my friends know that once 7pm hits, I am free. But not a minute before. Often, I'm tired and eager to get them to bed because I am ready for some moments of peace, but it's often that time right before those moments of peace where the best parts of the day live. Seeing their sleepy faces, being part of the getting them bathed, PJ'ed, and off to dream about whatever kids dream about is such a treasured part of my day. 

I kiss their faces 25 times, I say goodnight...and just as I am about to close the door, Ruby whispers, "Mama, you're going to be home all night, right? Are you going to leave the house while I'm sleeping?"

Ha. Caught in the act.

{iPhone photo of sleepy Coco at 14 months}

favorite posts of 2015... 21 Dec 2015

Oh Joy Favorite Posts of 2015

As we head into the end of the year and about to go on a little blog break, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite posts from this year in case you're looking for some inspiration or reading material during the holidays...

Oh Joy Band-Aids

Behind the Scenes of...

-Making Oh Joy Band-Aids

-The Oh Joy Book cover

-Oh Joy book parties!

-Oh Joy Band-Aid launch party

Framing Vintage

Tips on how to...

-Pick outfits for Family Photos

-Frame vintage pieces

-Create a Photo Studio at Home

-Make the mornings easier

-Archiving Your Digital Memories

-Declutter your house

-Choose a rug

-Find success

Oh Joy Dressing the Babe

Motherhood and Life with Two Kids...

-Sharing a room

-Why I'll miss being pregnant

-Not doing it all

Career Day with Kim West

Career Day with...

-Claire Vivier

-Sweet Laurel Bakery

-Kim West

How to Use a Flower Frog

Make some cool stuff...

-A Housewarming Welcome Kit

-Floral arrangements with a flower frog

-Sidewalk chalk

-Beach marker

10 Years of Oh Joy

And, 10 years of Oh Joy!

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