Oh Joy

i love this... 11 Feb 2016

Torafu Wooden Blocks and Dowel Toy

Torafu Wooden Blocks and Dowel Toy

Torafu Wooden Blocks and Dowel Toy

Torafu Wooden Blocks and Dowel Toy

Torafu Wooden Blocks and Dowel Toy

...when one thing can turn into so many other things...

{Designed by Torafu, avaiable at Ichiro}

#ohjoyfortarget babes! 29 Jan 2016

Oh Joy for Target happy customer

Every time I release a new collection, I am blown away by watching how everyone is using their new pieces! This newest nursery collection has been so fun to watch as you wrap your babes of all ages in Oh Joy for Target! Even, tiny newborns coming home from the hospital...I can't even...

Oh Joy for Target happy customer

Look at these peaceful sleeping babes! (via @scigitte, @tinykaper, @i_heart_loo, @brantlieherring)

Oh Joy for Target happy customer

These cuties are awake and as happy as can be!
(via @magic_kingdom_mamas@rubi_jones@rksleeter@tinykaper)

Oh Joy for Target happy customer

Oh Joy for Target happy customer

Even pups love Oh Joy, too (especially when they are prepping for a new baby in the house)! (via @bradyandbaby, @nowservingboba)

Please keep sharing with me with using #OhJoyforTarget on Instagram! Have a great weekend guys!

{Top photo by @girlintheredshoes, other photos noted above}

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}

career day / a prop stylist... 6 Jan 2016

Career Day with Justina Blakeney

Career Day with Justina Blakeney

Career Day with Justina Blakeney

Ruby recently starting paying a lot of attention to this one little corner of her room and set it up with a little chair, some pillows, and some of her favorite toys. I heard her saying that she was "styling" it and asked Coco to please not mess it up. I had no idea that she even knew the word "styling" but must have heard me say it from work. So, for our newest Career Day, I decided to take her to visit my friend—Justina Blakeney—a self-taught designer, prop stylist, author, interior designer, and all around ambassador of bohemian style, to get a lesson on what styling really is and to learn from one of the best around...

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the gift of giving! 17 Dec 2015

The Gift of Giving

We all strive to ensure our kids know that the holidays are not just about receiving gifts but it’s also about the joy of giving, too. In today’s video, I've partnered with Target to share 4 steps to help teach kids about the fun of giving by showing them how to make every gift giving experience fun and personal. See my video below for a playful look at gift-giving!


// CREDITS //
Brought to you by: Oh Joy + Target
Creative Direction: Joy Cho
Video: Jenner Brown
Music: “Make it Happen“ by The Likes of Us
Crafts and Production: Ariel Fulmer and Julia Wester

*This video is sponsored by Target.

10 kids gifts... 8 Dec 2015

10 Kids Gifts

Gifts for kids can be hard because every kid is different and if you don't know them super well (maybe it's your friends kid or your niece who lives on the other side of the country), it can be hard to figure out what "kids" like. So this list includes some of my favorites—mostly creative, imaginative play gifts plus a few fun wearables included for ages 2-6. I've found that if you're gonna give kids wearable gifts, they like accessories much more than getting actual clothing.

1. This Kid-O pattern stacker is a great gift for a toddler that's actually pretty cute when sitting out in your living room, too.

2. For a budding muscian, this Vilac guitar makes for a fun starter to the real thing.

3. Every kid loves pretend food, and this Djeco burger set will have them playing "restaurant" in no time.

4. Kids love books and here's a cute favorite called Friends. I also love anything by Herve Tullet.

5. For a sprinkling of pattern and an accessory that's easy to wear, Thief & Bandit headbands are a favorite.

6. My kids love their lovies and this Lovie Bunny from Bitte is super cute.

7. Who doesn't love a smiley face on their legs? These Hansel from Basel leggings are a quirky piece to give.

8. We're all about science experiments in our house, and this Electro Dough Kit from Tech Will Save Us combines something every kid uses to help spark the scientist in a little one.

9. Because drawing utensils never get old, these International Arrivals neon gel crayons are some of my favorites to give. The texture is smoother than then a regular crayon and they fit well in tiny hands.

10. For that very special kid in your life, you can custom make a pair of Zuzii shoes with this Choozii maker!

5 tips for making the morning rush easier... 30 Nov 2015

5 tips for making the morning rush easier

I remember back in the day, when I used to wake up leisurely at a comfortable time. I could take a shower, make some breakfast, and have a breezy morning on my way to work. Now, my morning starts something like this...

    At 6:45am Ruby yells, "Mama! I'm awake! Come and get me!" Ruby wakes up Coco from her yelling and     Coco babbles in her crib, "MaMaMaMaMumMum".

My alarm clock (aka my kids) has rang, and I shoot out of bed, stumble into the bathroom, and as soon as I walk into the kid's room, it's GO time. If it's a normal weekday, I have exactly one hour from the time I wake up to get all of us fed, dressed, and out the door by 7:45am to get Ruby at school by 8am and me to work by 8:30am. Because the morning can be so hectic, the folks at Quaker Oats Company asked me to share my tips for making the morning rush easier. Each tip shaves off at least 5 minutes so if you do them all, you're saving a lot of valuable time that can help you have a great start to your day...

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how to choose outfits for family photos... 18 Nov 2015

how to choose outfits for family photos

Every year, I have friends frantically texting me as they prep for their family photos asking about the outfits they have chosen and what their kids or husband should wear. It’s the one time a year that people might spend a bit more time choosing that special outfit for the whole family. Picking out outfits for my family is actually really fun for me because to me it’s like a design challenge that involves a lot of the same components of color, texture, and balance that I keep in mind when putting together any other image (that's the art school part of me coming out). Whether you’re taking photos of you and your partner, you and your pup, or you and your family of 15, I've partnered with Artifact Uprising to share my tips for choosing outfits for family photos with some outtakes from this year's holiday card to demonstrate…

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

1. Dressing for the environment. The first thing to think about is how casual or dressy you want to be. I say you should wear something more special than your average casual Saturday because...why not? If you’re spending time to take these family photos, you should use it as a chance to wear something a little extra special. That doesn’t mean you need to go black tie and wear a ball gown to the park, but dress so you feel excited about what you’re wearing and so your kids are excited, too. Also, think about where you’re shooting the photos. If you’re going to the beach, then soft flowy pieces look great in the wind. Or if it’s a snowy/winter scene then cozy on up so that the scene feels like a moment out of your real life. This year, we chose a modern, urban setting outside the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

2. Color and texture. When outfitting a the whole family, I compose a set of outfits the way I would a full scene—balance, texture, and color come into play. If you have a certain stand-out color or pattern, you want to see that pop of color/pattern in a couple places so that it doesn’t stand out in only one spot. In our case, we have a couple hits of neon yellow, a couple hits of black, a few neutral stripes, and some blush throughout. Men and boys can be the hardest to dress because there are far less options in male clothing (poor guys). But if you love color and want to incorporate it in their outfits as well, find smaller areas like a cool belt, a bow tie, hat, or shoes where they can wear a pop of color and feel comfortable in that shade (check out Bob's blush shoes!). Also, think about textures. If you’re taking your photos in a very modern setting that has strong lines and not a lot of color, it could be nice to balance that out with some clothing that has some softness or texture to it (hence our soft skirts and dresses). Also, across the board, I typically avoid wearing all white, all black, or anything with bold logos or typography.

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

3. Complement without being too matchy matchy. Unless you are going for the Ugly Christmas Sweater look, I like to have some elements of the family outfits that match or complement without anyone wearing the same exact outfit. For example, if you have multiple kids, they can wear similar colors or patterns. Or, they can wear the same style of dress or shirt but in different colors or patterns. That way there are parts of the outfits that are the same without the full head-to-toe outfit being the same. Ruby and Coco are two slightly different dresses in the same pattern, but to avoid them looking too matchy, I gave them different tops to wear over the dresses. Same goes for the grown-ups, try to have part of your outfit link back to one other person in the photos even with a touch of the same color or pattern. 

How to Choose Outfits for a Family Photo

4. Try on the clothes before you take photos. Especially if kids are involved, make sure they've tried on the full outfit ahead of time. I can't even keep track of the number of times I've put on a new pair of shoes or a new dress and Ruby doesn’t want to wear it cause they hurt her feet or something itches. Or sometimes you’ve been saving a super special piece of clothing for a few months and then your kid outgrows it before they go to wear it. So do a test run in the full outfit beforehand so you and your kids are in comfortable clothes that fit! (For example, the outfits above were what I had planned for the kids this year. But Ruby would not wearing the stockings because she felt too hot in them, she outgrew the shoes I planned for her, and we decided not to have Coco wear the headband in fear of it constantly falling off during shooting). So we simply took out some of the unnecessary accessories and switched out Ruby’s shoes for a bigger pair we already had.

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

5. Be comfortable to look comfortable. You might see this as a chance to step outside your box and wear something more risqué, more glamorous, or more colorful. But don’t wear something you wouldn’t normally wear. Bob and I both wore clothes we already owned and have worn before this day. These photos should look like you and your family—just a bit more special. And if you don't feel like you or you’re uncomfortable in any way, it will show in the photos. Oh, if you have kids, don't forget to take a photo of you and your partner without the kids. I know it can be hectic to take family photos, but if someone can entertain your kids for a few minutes so you can snap a shot together, it's well worth it.

how to choose outfits for family photos

And, now here's a peek at our holiday card for this year! I hope these tips help you for your holiday photo, future family photos, or for any other special occasion coming up!

P.S. Two fun things...

1) Artifact Uprising has kindly offered 10% off holiday card printing with code OHJOYTEN valid through December 2, 2015. AND...

2) You can enter your email address in the box below to enter to win $250 credit towards printing your cards with Artifact Uprising. Entries close on December 2, 2015.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Artifact Uprising—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 from this year's family photo by Morgan Pansing. Past family photos from card's past: Max Wanger and Jesse Chamberlin (sparkly streamers card), Katherine and Luke Griffin (bougainvillea running and family montage). Still life photos of the cards by Casey Brodley, styling by Ariel Fulmer. Outfit details: Joy's sweater from J.Crew, skirt from Darccy, shoes from Target, necklace from Lou Lou Lollipop Finery. Bob's shirt from Apolis, pants by Betabrand, shoes from Greats. Ruby's dress by Two Els, cardigan from Crew Cuts, shoes by Zuzii. Coco's dress by Two Els, top by Crew & Lushoes by Zuzii, hair pin by Homako.}

apple pie adventures... 12 Nov 2015

Apple-picking-2015

It's finally feeling like fall here in LA in the last couple weeks, and I'm just loving it. As a child of immigrant parents, we never did seasonal things like apple picking (my parents just weren't aware of it because it wasn't a part of their culture). So it's been fun starting new traditions like this with my own family. Since we all love apple pie so very much, a few weeks ago, we took the kids apple picking so that we could show them what goes into (eventually) making an apple pie. Click on the video below to see our Apple Pie Adventures and subscribe to the Oh Joy channel for more videos!

And if you want to recreate my favorite apple pie, see more below!

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