Oh Joy

{oh joy eats} howlin ray's fried chicken... 25 Jun 2015

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Fried chicken is probably one of my favorite indulgences on earth! So when I heard that a fried chicken truck had recently opened in our area, we had to go. 

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's is a husband and wife team who take their truck around Los Angeles spreading fried chicken cheer wherever they go. Chef Johnny, an LA native, has worked professionally under Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Matsuhisa. Amanda grew up with her grandparents in the heartland, growing, hunting, fishing, harvesting and preserving most of their food supply and spending summers in East Texas learning about southern soul and hospitality. After spending some time in Nashville last year, they were introduced to Nashville Hot Chicken and wanted to bring that flavor and speciality to LA! And, dang, is it GOOD! It's so good that I've had it three times since they opened just weeks ago...

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's signature is spicy fried chicken. I love spice, but the hottest of the hot (The Howlin' Hot) is actually too much for me, so I tend to go for the Medium or the Hot which offers a nice tingle of spice without making it so you can't breathe or see straight! And, if you can't take any heat or just like the classics, there's always the traditional Country Fried chicken, too.

Fantastic Donuts / Los Angeles

To accompany those spicy bites, every month Howlin' Ray's partners with a local baked goods company to offer some sweets to cap off the meal. During this visit, these cutie pie animal donuts by Fantastic Donuts were part of the arsenal. Have you ever seen cuter donuts?!

If you're in LA or visiting LA soon, and you like fried chicken, Howlin' Ray's is a must. You can see their weekly schedule here and their menu right here

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

go out and get inspired! 24 Jun 2015

Ergo-mod

When you're a new mom, sometimes you can feel stuck inside bound by nap schedules and baby feedings. But one thing I've learned after two kids is that you just have to get out and do things to recharge your brain and find your own sanity. You don't have to be stuck at home all day, and you can take your little one along while you explore. I'll often time my outings with Coco's active awake time or with the beginning of a nap so that she's happy and comfortable. Then, I can wear her in my Ergo Baby 360 carrier so that she's close by me while I'm soaking up our surroundings.

Here are a few of my favorite types of places to go (with babe in tow) when I need a change of scenery...

Shout and About / Los Angeles

1 / Explore Your Neighborhood - It seems so simple to get out and explore where you live. But sometimes you find unexpected things even in familiar surroundings. For me, it's not always about going somewhere grand but just taking a walk near by. In Silver Lake (the area of Los Angeles that I live in), there are tons of hidden stair cases (like the one above) that people use as short cuts through the hills. And window shopping is one of my favorite things to do—I get so inspired by the ways people make a retail space come to life (those balloons)!

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

2 / Get inspired by nature - As I kid, I loved exploring plants, flowers, and butterflies. So we visited the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum where you can walk among all the beautiful, fluttering butterflies and learn about all the different types that exist. After Coco woke up from her nap, she wanted to check out the butterflies, too!

Piñata District / Los Angeles

Piñata District / Los Angeles

Piñata District / Los Angeles

Piñata District / Los Angeles

3 / Find an unexpected source of inspiration - I might not have a need for a piñata anytime soon. But when there's a whole Piñata District in downtown LA dedicated to piñatas of all kinds, there's something so inspiring about seeing all the crazy types of pieces that can be made. Not only did I feel refreshed after some new outings, but Coco loved it, too! It's never too early to show your babe all the cool things that exist out there in the world.

Where do you guys go when you need some new-found inspiration?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Ergo—a brand I've been using and loving for years. 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. My outfits: Rainbow stairs, top by Ace & Jig (past season); Butterfly Pavilion, dress by Loyal HanaPiñata District, skirt by Zara; shoes worn in all, by Toms. I'm wearing this Ergo Baby 360 carrier.}

should i eat donuts today? 5 Jun 2015

Oh Joy / YES NO MAYBE SO donuts

Oh Joy / Yea Boy! Donuts

Oh Joy / SOS donuts!

If you needed an excuse to eat a donut, TODAY IS THE DAY because it's National Donut Day (which is the first Friday of every June and has been since 1938). We had a little (too much) fun playing around with these donuts we custom-made with California Donuts in celebration!

SO...who's eating a donut today? And happy Friday!

P.S. Check out my Instagram today to see more of our favorite donuts from around the city!

{Creative Direction by Joy Cho, photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester} 

um, yum... 4 Jun 2015

Pam and Audrey's Donuts / Los Angeles

Pam and Audrey's Donuts / Los Angeles

A few months ago, we got to taste test these donuts by Pam and Audrey's in Los Angeles. They're some of the prettiest donuts I've seen so I'm excited that they are finally launching tomorrow! With flavors like Lime Basil, Passionfruit Coconut, Thai Iced Tea, Chocolate Ginger, and Chili Chocolate, they're like little clouds of sweetness. I might have eaten two (or four of these) at once. If you're in LA, they make local deliveries of these fresh and (seriously) pretty donuts. 

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy} 

career day / a painter... 27 May 2015

Kim West

Kim West

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

In our newest Career Day, I took Ruby to visit the studio of Kim West, a painter living and working in Downtown Los Angeles. We came across one of her amazing murals recently, and after that I had to see and learn more about her. So one afternoon, I picked Ruby up from school and said "We're gonna go paint at an artist's studio! You can paint right on the wall, and it's okay if your clothes get dirty." She was more excited for this then the day that puppies came to our office.

The minute you walk into Kim's studio, the saturated colors, beautiful line work, light, and wit come through in her work and in every inch of her space. She's warm, kind, and as the mother of two kids...she armed Ruby with a paint brush, paints in every color, and gave her an afternoon to remember. Here's a little more about the life and work of this amazing painter...

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

What’s your background and when did you start painting? / I was taught to hold a paintbrush before I learned to walk or talk. Though she's semi-retired now, my mom is an art teacher and art historian, and as such, creative play and art education were a part of my daily childhood for as long as I can recall. And still, though I always found painting and making things to be as natural and necessary as breathing, I never labeled myself as an 'artist'. This changed for me when, at the end of my first year of a pre-law schedule at a Smith College, I decided to transfer to the painting department at Rhode Island School of Design. In every sense of the word, that choice was a relief.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

When/how did you figure out your signature style? / My work is essentially the result of an on-going series of responsive investigations to what is happening around me, and so it’s continually evolving. In all of that, it is fair to say that strong, emotive color is a constant for me, and the use of it is a thread that connects disparate bodies of my work together. 

Kim West

Best part about your job? / My first summer job at age 10 was working on an assembly line in a fertilizer plant. Throughout college and for a while after, my jobs were mainly in restaurants and bars where I waited on lots and lots of tables. Most of these jobs ranged from truly terrible to blah, but the experience of them serves as a reminder to recognize that as a painter, I never feel like I am working a job. Although painting is work, and that work can be hard or stressful or frustrating at times, in general it’s also my sanity and without the ritual of its’ practice I am sad and lost.

Worst part about your job? / On a bad day, feeling like a teeny drop in the gigantic art-world bucket.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Favorite Day of the Week? / A Sunday/Monday crossover. I love Sundays with my husband and children - starting out lazy and then spending time outside with no agenda other than to enjoy the day and see where it takes us, typically for a hike, heading to the beach or a museum, or seeing friends. Mondays in the studio make me happy because even though the week is only 5 short days, on Monday it seems long and possible to fit so much into those hours.

Kim West

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

If there were two of you, what other type of business or job would the other Kim have? / At this point, I can’t envision being anything other than a painter. But I would definitely consider a clone.

Kim West's Studio

Favorite artist? / Forever and ever...Alice Neel, Cy Twombly, and Helen Frankenthaler. Recently, Mary Weatherford. 

Kim West's Studio

One thing that has happened in your career that you never expected? / I didn’t set out to paint murals; that was set in motion over a chance encounter regarding bathroom paper products.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

One thing that has happened in your career that you completely expected and had hoped for? / I have always expected and hoped that at the end of each work day, I would feel satisfied with at least some of the day’s progress, and would leave the studio excited to return for more. I am grateful to report that happens almost every day.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

At the end of the afternoon with Kim, we had to take off Ruby's romper since she was covered in wet paint. She walked to the car in just her undies and said, "This was the best day ever!" Thanks so much Kim for sharing your world with us!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy. All art by Kim West.}

career day / an ice cream maker... 25 Mar 2015

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

If you’re from the Mid-West (or if you’re a huge ice cream fan like me), then you may have heard of Jeni’s Ice Cream. Jeni Britton Bauer (aka “Jeni”) is one of those entrepreneurs to appears to have a job that anyone would want—making ice cream, coming up with flavors, and creating joy for people all over the country with her sweet concoctions.

Jeni’s Ice Cream recently opened up a new shop right near me in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, so Ruby and I stopped by to chat with Jeni and get a behind-the-scenes peek at what it’s like to live and breathe ice cream. And (of course), to eat a little ice cream, too!

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Here's a look at our visit to Jeni's for a Career Day field trip. I’ve also asked Jeni to share a bit about her history, growing an ice cream empire, and what she’s hoping it’s all leading to some day...

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

When and why did you start Jeni's? / In the early ‘90s I was messing around with ice cream, collecting scents, and studying art at Ohio State. During a figure drawing class one day, a model I didn’t like to draw walked in. So, I got up, left my portfolio and all my supplies at my desk, and just walked out. I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this any more. I want to make ice cream.’ I quit everything else, too—school, side jobs—just threw myself into making ice cream and figuring out how to create a living doing that.

Within six months I started my first ice cream business, which didn't work. So, I took time off, traveled, lived, learned, and studied customer service. The thing that didn’t work at my first ice cream business was surprising people with new menus all the time. When I opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002 in the North Market in Columbus, I made sure to offer signature flavors along with just a few surprises. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

When did you know you had something good? / The day we opened for business in November 2002—the day of the OSU/­Michigan football game. We thought we’d open that day to give ourselves a little warm up, to open softly, you know. OSU/­Michigan game day in Columbus is a holy day. Every man, woman, and child is glued to the TV on that day in Columbus. But much to our surprise there was a giant line all day. We’ve never looked back.

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

If there were two of you, what other type of business would the other Jeni have? / I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, in the cradle of the greatest sandwich on earth, the breaded pork tenderloin. Other Jeni would open a joint that served from­ scratch breaded tenderloins on tiny white buns, served with dill pickles, homemade mustard, and potato salad. One pilsner on tap to wash it all down. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

Do you take off on the weekends? / I’m never not working. I’m working the same way today as I did when I started making my own ice cream in the mid ‘90s: pretty much every moment I’m awake. I’m not bragging or complaining—whatever I’m reading, watching, listening to, and doing goes into whatever the next ice cream flavor is.

Sometimes I feel like a character in a comic book, like I fell into a vat of magical ice cream a couple decades ago and emerged with ice cream fused to my DNA. I go to work everyday thinking of how to improve the texture or body of my ice cream. Or how to get one flavor just right. I think about it constantly. And when I’m not thinking about it actively, there is a little spot on my brain that is always dedicated to only thinking about ice cream. It’s on no matter where I am or what I’m doing. It’s even on while I sleep. 

With 20 stores currently, what is your dream for your brand? World ice cream domination?  My only dream for this company is for us to make better ice cream tomorrow than we did today. One day at a time, that is what we’re trying to do here. As far as shops go, the goal has never been and never will be to open a chain of cookie-­cutter, look­-a­like shops. We own and operate our shops and I have my hands in every detail of the way each one looks and feels. I can’t imagine just opening a bunch of clone shops and just sitting back. I like the work too much. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

Favorite ice cream? / I’ll never get tired of Lemon Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt. It’s so creamy, tart, and refreshing. I also LOVE it on pies in the summer!

Worst part about your job? / The existence of deadlines. I always think I can improve whatever ice cream we’re about to release! 

Best part about your job? / Being able to create something out of everything I absorb every day. This job didn’t just fall out of the sky for me. I had to make choices to create the opportunity for myself, but I’m proud and thankful I’m able to earn a living by creating something I dream up.

Jeni's Ice Cream / Los Angeles

One thing that has happened in your career that you never expected? / Giving speeches. It still floors me that people want to hear me tell my story. I’m always flattered.

One thing that has happened in your career that you completely expected and had hoped for? / When I was first messing around with ice cream, I mixed cayenne essential oil into regular store-­bought chocolate ice cream. I let it melt slowly on my tongue. It was cold, tasted like chocolate, and about five seconds later it burst into flames in the back of my throat. It was like the sky tore in two and light enveloped me. Right then I knew that ice cream would be my life. I didn’t know how I would do it, how long it would take, how many people, how much money, but I knew it was my path. For some crazy reason, I always thought there could be a place in the world where art, perfume, and ice cream could get along. I always thought that. And I guess it appears to be true. 

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Jeni's Ice Cream / Career Day Field Trip

Even with a huge, booming business, Jeni remains kind, humble, and deeply grounded and loyal to her Mid-West roots. Thanks so much to Jeni and the team at Jeni's Ice Cream for an inspiring visit! I'm pretty sure Ruby enjoyed this Career Day field trip when she said afterwards that it was "the best day EVER!".

Jeni's Ice Cream | 1954 Hillhurst Avenue | Los Angeles, CA 90027 | 323-928-2668

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy} 

career day / a kid's clothing designer... 18 Mar 2015

Ultra Violet Kids

I love getting to expose my kids to so many cool jobs that exist out there. Whether it's through my community of entrepreneurial friends that I surround myself with or the people I get to meet through my job, I always enjoying showing how anyone can create a job for themselves from scratch.

Inspired by that notion, I want to start sharing with you some of the people that I'm lucky enough to come across. People that have cool jobs—jobs that aren't typical, and jobs that come from a true love of what they do. It's like career day at school but with a twist! 

Ultra Violet Kids

Ultra Violet Kids

Today, I'm sharing a peek into the world of a kid's fashion designer, Michelle Chaplin of Ultra Violet Kids. I came across Michelle's clothing last month and instantly wished the clothes she made came in my size. They're edgy yet comfortable and combine bite-sized pieces with great prints (I mean, that mini crop top?!? I can't even...). Here's a look at her Los Angeles studio and a few fun facts...

Ultra Violet Kids

What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up? I have always known I wanted to be a fashion designer.

Ultra Violet Kids

What’s your background and when/why did you start Ultra Violet? For the past 15 years, I have been working as a women's contemporary designer. I have worked for other companies making their visions come to life as well as having my brand, Smoke & Mirrors, with Emily Harteau of Our Open Road.

When my daughter, Violet, was born I was happily unemployed and started a little Etsy store selling vintage kids clothing. For Violet's birthday, I made her a crop top and harem pants out of African fabric. All of my friends loved it, so that's when the light bulb in my head went on. I secured my domain, started branding, picked up my first account, and that was the beginning of Ultra Violet Kids.

Ultra Violet Kids

When did you know you had something good? I knew I had something special when customers started buying the clothing, giving me positive feedback, and when press and stores started contacting me. Instagram has been so crucial in the growth and awareness of Ultra Violet Kids. I get to see all the pictures of kids wearing their clothing, and it makes me extremely proud. My mom jokes that I always said I wanted to clothe the world but I didn't say what size.

Ultra Violet Kids

Best part about your job? The best part of my job is designing and creating fashion.

Worst part about your job? The hardest part of my job is managing production.

Ultra Violet Kids

Style muse? My daughter Violet is my muse and inspiration.

Ultra Violet Kids

What do you hope the brand will become someday? I dream of being able to grow the company, giving back, and expanding into women's again. But right now I'm happy with growing it organically. I hope that Ultra Violet Kids becomes a recognized brand that you can always count on for fashion forward, quality clothing that's made in the USA. 

Favorite ice cream? I love ice cream! Gold Medal Ribbon and Almond Fig Gelato are my favorites.

Thanks so much Michelle for this look into your world!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy except the two photos of the kids by Lauren Moore for Ultra Violet Kids} 

{field trip} a+r store... 17 Feb 2015

A+R Store / Los Angeles

I'm often so virtual these days that I tend to do most of my shopping online. But I miss the ritual of going into an actual store and seeing and feeling the pieces in person. Even if I'm not actually shopping to buy, there's still something so much more enjoyable about window shopping in person. I love imagining—even just for a second—how something I see in a store would look in my future dream home.

One of my favorite online modern home decor shops, A+R, has an actual brick and mortar store here in Los Angeles. It's rare to see independent shops that exist both online and in person these days, so I love seeing how a website comes alive in a real live space.

A+R Store / Los Angeles

A+R Store / Los Angeles

A+R Store / Los Angeles

A+R Store / Los Angeles

Full of modern, colorful, functional, and quirky pieces for the home, this shop makes me want to hang the coolest lights from my ceiling and paint my desk in an awesome, fun color!

A+R | 171 South La Brea Avenue | Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 800.913.0071 x 3

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

{field trip} society of the spectacle... 10 Feb 2015

Society of the Spectacle

As a wearer of glasses (for over 20 years), I love coming across shops that carry vintage frames that can be made into prescription glasses or even sunglasses. I came across Society of the Spectacle in L.A.'s Highland Park when filming our Dressing the Bump series last year, and it's still one of my favorite spots to be inspired by all the frame options out there.

Society of the Spectacle

Society of the Spectacle

I usually steer away from colored frames, but a vintage pair like these add a nice pop of color to your face!

Society of the Spectacle

Society of the Spectacle

These sparkly frames above are not vintage (but vintage-inspired) and they are so, so fun! Let's just inject glitter into all our eyewear, shall we? 

Society of the Spectacle | 4563 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041 | 323.255.4300

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy} 

currently snacking on... 5 Feb 2015

Gray Malin x Compartes Chocolate Bars

Is it just me or do you also keep a bar of chocolate in your bedroom's nightstand? Maybe it's the thoughts of Valentine's Day swirling in my head or the fact that my sweet tooth is off the charts these days, but I'm currently snacking on my own box of chocolate à la these Gray Malin x Compartes chocolate bars. The "Sweet Sea" flavor (milk chocolate waffle cone with sea salt) is my fave and anything called "Beach Sprinkles" sounds so sweet in so many ways...

Gray Malin x Compartes Chocolate Bars

...and this packaging? Compartes always nails it with these gorgeous boxes!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy}

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