Oh Joy

unplug and play! 18 Aug 2015

Oh Joy Unplug and Play

I have a love/hate relationship with being so connected all the time. In some ways, I use the excuse that it’s part of my job to know what’s happening. But I also find that I can’t fully decompress from work unless I let myself just be and be present in the moment. One thing I learned more so after having kids is to appreciate the joys of simple things. 

Oh Joy Unplug and Play

An outing doesn’t have to be so far away or fantastical to be special, but there are so many little places in our immediate vicinity to go and do and explore and play in. As long as we're prepared with our first aid kit, we're ready for whatever happens during any outing. 

Here’s a little video we made with one of our long term partners, Johnson and Johnson, that shows how we explore one of our favorite places near our house. By coming up with games to engage your kids in at any location (near or far), we can make an adventure out of anything.

No matter whether you have kids or not, I encourage you to take the challenge, put away your phones for a day (or at least an afternoon), and get out there to #UnplugandPlay, too!

P.S. Visit Healthy Essentials to learn how you can build your own first aid kit.

// Credits //
Brought to you by: Oh Joy + Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.
Creative Direction: Joy Cho 
Video: Jenner Brown
Music: "Your Favorite Song" by Katrina Stone

gem sidewalk chalk DIY... 17 Aug 2015

DIY Chalk Gems

There's no kid (big or little) who doesn't love sidewalk chalk. We made these mini neon chalk gems which are great for little hands and SO fun to play with. They'd also make for super fun party favors for parties! To make these, you only need a few ingredients...

DIY Chalk Gems

You'll need...

- Plaster of Paris

- Liquid tempera paint

Silicone mold

Here's how... 

1. Follow the instructions on the plaster container to mix the plaster. The one we used was 2 parts plaster to 1 part water.

2. Mix in drops of tempera paint until you reach your desired color. We used about 1 tbs of paint per 1/2 cup of plaster so that the chalk would be very vibrant.

3. Pour the mixtures into the silicone tray. For a layered effect like we made, pour the mixtures into plastic baggies. Then cut off the corner tip of each bag so that the mixture can be more easily poured into the molds. That way you can add one color, then add another (sort of like piping in icing!).

4. Allow the mixture to harden in the mold for about 2 hours. Once it has set, gently pop them out.


DIY Chalk Gems

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling and crafts by Ariel Fulmer.}

creating a photo series... 10 Aug 2015

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Earlier this year, I shared how I archive my digital photos and memories, and since then, I've been doing my best to continue archiving family photos that we capture throughout the year. One of my favorite series that we've shot for this blog has been my Dressing the Babe series which started at the beginning of this year. It was started as a fun way to share of my favorite stylish pieces for your little ones, but it's also turned into a series of photos of me and my kids that I cherish and will be so happy to have for the future. I recently put together the first six months of our Dressing the Babe photos into a beautiful lay flat photo album by Artifact Uprising and it turned our simple series into a family treasure I'll pass down to my kids.

There's something about a series that feels so meaningful and special when you look back on how all the images connect with some consistency over time. And to see the change in the people within the photos is what makes it truly priceless. Whether you're capturing a monthly baby photo or annual family portraits, here are a few tips for creating a series to capture with your kids or family...

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

1) Look at the camera! Especially when we take photos with our kids—I, too, am guilty of looking at my kids (instead of the camera) when we take photos together because I am concerned with how they are doing and making sure they are happy. But one thing a lot of photographers tell you is not to worry about what the kids are doing (because the photographer will engage them) and make sure to look at the camera yourself. That's the only way that you have a chance of getting the parent's face in the photo, too. And, it's your face that your kids want to see and look back on someday.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

2) Have someone who knows how to engage kids take the photos. Whether it's your husband, wife, a family member, friend, or professional photographer, kids are happier in photos when the person behind the camera is fun and engaging. I have been on shoots before for work where the photographer treats the kids like an adult and doesn't know how to talk to them in a fun and engaging way. And then it just feels like pulling teeth for everyone. Casey, our staff photographer, knows how to make my kids laugh, smile, and be silly so they always feel comfortable with her when we take photos.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

3) Shoot both horizontal and vertical photos. When taking photos, shoot both ways so that you have the flexibility to make them for work different formats later—whether a holiday card, baby announcement, framed print, or a bound book. It only takes a few extra minutes to shoot a few more photos in different orientations.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

4) Take photos during a time of day when your kids are their most energetic. For example, we've realized that late afternoons are the worst for Ruby when she's just ready to crash for the day. And never take photos right before a baby's due for a nap or you'll just have a cranky, unhappy baby on your hands.

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

Oh Joy / Creating a Photo Series

5) Be consistent. While you can certainly stick to some sort of consistent look or theme (like how we shot all these photos behind a cool wall or background)—more than anything, it's important to stick to a consistent frequency in order to have a solid series. We shoot these photos once or twice a month so that we have a representation of each of my kids each month, and it's been so fun to look back and see how much they've grown and changed even since the beginning of the year.

P.S. You can read more about my tips for archiving your photos right here!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

{dollar store diy} a kid's beach kit... 6 Aug 2015

Oh Joy / Kid's Beach Kit

There's about a month or so left to get some good beach time before the summer ends. And the best thing about the beach is that you don't need to spend a ton of money to keep kids entertained. The water and the sand are like instant, free toys. And with a few extra items, we made a kid's summer beach tote ready to go with some playful essentials. The best part is...most of these items came from the dollar store so the full kit can be put together with just $5-8 bucks!

Oh Joy / Kid's Beach Kit

We found the visor, drink cooler, sand toys, frisbee, and the amazing neon tote all for $1 each at the dollar store. To make them a little fancier, we used puffy paint to decorate the visor, and washi tape and contact paper to decorate the frisbee and water cooler. And, I know you're about to say..."Joy is there anything you DON'T put contact paper on?!?" The answer is no. But seriously, how much cuter do these pieces look now, and the decorations are water-proof!

Oh Joy / Kid's Beach Kit

Oh Joy / Kid's Beach Kit

We added a little pom pom and one of our "R" Christmas ornaments to personalize the tote for Ruby. This little kit would be super special and fun to make for a gift, too!

p.s. a summer art kit!

{Photos by Casey Brodley and styling by Julia Wester for Oh Joy. All items from the Dollar Store except the sunglasses, sunglass strap, ornament, and beach towel.}

kids' style: 3 ways to wear 3 key pieces... 3 Aug 2015

Oh Joy / Kids' Style

Oh Joy / Kids' Style

As we reach the last month of summer (Ah, how is it August already?!?), it's a time of year where I'm always looking for ways to make the most use out of a summer wardrobe and how the same pieces can be worn into fall.

With the little ones in mind, here's a new video we made to show how to wear a dress, a denim vest, and a button-up tee three different ways from the summer through the fall. Check out the video below to see. And, make sure you watch till the end because it's VERY cute... ;)

Click below the drop to see all sources for the outfits...

Continue reading " kids' style: 3 ways to wear 3 key pieces... " »

a baby's memorabilia shelf... 27 Jul 2015

Baby Memorabilia Shelf DIY

I often collect little cute trinkets or treasures for my kids that have some sort of meaning. But it can be hard to figure out where to put these little things or know to how to display them. So we came up with this memorabilia shelf for a baby's nursery to hold small treasures and keepsakes.

We made this one for a couple who has roots in Philly and Los Angeles and cultural backgrounds from Mexico, the Philippines, and Colombia, so you'll see a variety of pieces that reference those parts of them show up here. Watch the video below to see the full how-to!

And to see all the materials and steps, I've repeated them below for reference! And please subscribe to the Oh Joy channel to see more videos.

Continue reading " a baby's memorabilia shelf... " »

summer in los angeles... 14 Jul 2015

Oh Joy / Smile Popsicles

We usually have pretty good weather here in LA year-round, so the summer doesn't always feel so different temperature-wise. But there's still that feeling of lightness and playfulness that the summer always brings. Since the fruit is more bountiful, the sun is bit warmer in the summer months, and everyone's a bit more relaxed in the summer months, we try to take advantage of close-by adventures that make a weekend morning or afternoon extra fun for all of us. Here are a few of my favorite things that we've been doing with the kids this summer in/near LA...

Oh Joy / Summer Fruit Picking

Oh Joy / Summer Fruit Picking

Oh Joy / Summer Fruit Picking

Fruit picking at Underwood Family Farms (45 minutes outside LA) — The strawberries have been amazing this past month, so getting them right off the bush is like heaven in fruit form. Ruby is finally at an age where she can really appreciate the process of seeing a plant grow and making the connection of the fruit that comes from it.

Oh Joy / Summer at Grand Park

Oh Joy / Summer at Grand Park

Oh Joy / Summer at Grand Park

The Splash Pad at Grand Park in Downtown LA — splash pads are like the closest thing we get to a swimming pool around here. We've been going to Grand Park since it opened a few years ago (Ruby's 1st and 3rd birthdays were there, too), and we continue to love bringing the kids there on warm summer days. It's clean and safe, and easy for the parents to hang out while watching the kids play.

Oh Joy / Savoring Our Neighborhood

Oh Joy / Exploring Neighborhood

Savoring Our Neighborhood — This isn't anything specific to LA or to summer, but the summer makes us go out for more walks as a family, see what's around us, and just notice the little things.

What are some of your favorite summertime things to do in your city?

{Bottom photo by Casey Brodley, all others by Oh Joy}

a budding artist's play table... 13 Jul 2015

Oh Joy / DIY Kid's Art Table

If you're looking for special ways to make your baby's nursery even more memorable, here's our newest DIY made especially for a room that a baby could share with an older sibling. This play table combines a chalkboard and magnet area for creating and displaying memories of all kinds. Watch the video to see the full how-to!

And to see all the materials and steps, I've repeated them below for reference!

Continue reading " a budding artist's play table... " »

dressing the babe / flora and fun... 9 Jul 2015

Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

The bougainvilleas are in crazy, beautiful overdrive right now in LA. And, when they fall to the ground and dry up, they turn into these tissue-paper like pieces that make for endless hours of crunching under your toes and tossing in the air like confetti with your mini me...


I love a good shirt dress (ahem, it's nursing-friendly, too...), and there's something about the buttons that make it feel casual and not-too-fussy. 

Mama outfit / 1. Whit Two shirt dress, 2. Jockey Skimmies, 3. Dr. Scholl's sandals


I've been wearing a ton of dresses lately, and Ruby always likes wearing dresses and skirts, so these Jockey Skimmies have been coming in hand for both of us to make sure we don't show off too much should the wind catch up with us! They're basically like shorts mixed with undies so I don't have to wear an extra slip and Ruby doesn't have to wear shorts under her skirt.

Babe outfit / 4. Mini Boden top, 5. Zara tulle skirt (past season) - similar here and here, 6. Zuzii sandals, 7. Jockey girl's Skimmies.

Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

Dressing the Babe / Mama and Me Style

Ruby is now obsessed with bougainvilleas and loves pointing out all the different colors and varieties we spot in our neighborhood!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Jockey. All content, ideas, and words are my own.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, outfit styling by Joy Cho, flat styling by Julia Wester. Ruby is 3.75 years old and loves picking flowers off the bushes to give to her friends.}

making a kid's summer art kit... 6 Jul 2015

Kid's Art Kit DIY

Kid's Art Kit DIY

School's out for summer, and we thought it would be fun to make a little art kit for kids that you could have on hand to take with you wherever your summer adventures may go. Whether at home, on vacation, or at Grandma's house, you can fill up a box with a stash of things to keep kids engaged and creating all summer long. I keep this one at my office for Ruby for when she comes by! These also make for a perfect custom gift anytime of year for that little budding artist in your life!

Kid's Art Kit DIY

Here are some of my favorite things to put in the kit (this one is geared towards ages 2-5 and could be adjusted for an older or younger kid):

1. a glue stick (the kind that changes color when dry!)

2. gel crayons and homemade crayons

3. stretchy cord, pipe cleaners, and wooden beads for making necklaces

4. textural things that can be glued down, like googly eyes, squares of tissue paper, and pom-poms which can be store in small divided containers.

5. lots of sheets of paper and things that help attach papers like washi tape and paper clips

6. items that encourage 3-D thinking like play-doh and fun shaped erasers

Kid's Art Kit DIY

We used these awesome little suitcases for the kit which you could also paint and decorate with a name or fun phrase. We simply used vinyl letters to make a word, painted over it with acrylic paint in a pattern, then peeled off the letters once the paint is dry.

Custom Crayon DIY

Custom Crayon DIY

To make these custom crayons, simply break up old crayon pieces and put them into a silicone baking mold and bake at 230 degrees for 15 minutes!

Kid's Art Kit DIY

The best part about the art kit is that as they go through the supplies, it's easy to re-stock and change up the items inside based on their current interests. Right now, Ruby loves stringing beads and using washi tape on everything. So as I refill the kit, I always like to add some new things in there that Ruby's never seen or used before to get her excited for new ways to make and create!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling and production by Julia Wester}


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