Oh Joy

my favorite mini swimwear... 30 May 2016

Kids-bathing-suits

With summer almost in full swing, I wanted to share a few of my favorite swim pieces for the little ones...in a range of price points, from indie to mass brands, and for both boys and girls.

01. Little Adi + Co. swim trunks, 02. Crew & Lu, 03. Minnow Swim, 04. Bumby by Marysia, 05. Platypus Australia sunsuit, 06. Target rash guard (in stores), 07. Marimekko for Target, 08. Minnow Swim brief with Tiny Cottons tee, 09. Snapperrock sunsuit, 10. Bumkins swim diaper and wet bags.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, flat styling by Julia Wester}

the best moments are the everyday moments... 24 May 2016

Joy0517highres_011-au

When people ask how we get such great photos of our kids, the answer is simple: we bring our camera with us almost everywhere and we capture everyday moments. Today, I've partnered with Artifact Uprising to share some of my favorite, everyday moments and how you can capture them, too.

You might be saying, "Well, Joy, you're a blogger, so that's easy for you to take pictures all the time!" Sure, my mindset is a bit different because I am so used to documenting life. But it wasn't originally easy for me to do. Lugging around a camera can be a pain in the butt and sometimes you just don't want your picture taken. But I realized that when we get over those hurdles and just make it fun to capture the everyday, you will never regret it. It's kind of like exercise. It may seem like a pain to go through the steps to make it happen and it's easy to just not do it, but the result is well worth it. My kids can look back at photos of themselves just enjoying life. It doesn't have to be just a birthday party or just a family vacation. My favorite photos in this layflat photo album are of everyday moments like going to the park or playground and just spending time together.

Joy0517highres_002-au-blog

Don't forget to get IN the photos, too! Often parents are too busy taking photos of their kids or chasing after them or trying to get their attention for the photo that they don't want to be in the photo. This photo above was taken at brunch on a Sunday while we were waiting for our food. There was nothing glamorous about where we were or what we were doing, but when a baby has cheeks like mine does, they need to be kissed. I'm working on a wall of some of our favorite family photos and this framed print is one of them.

Joy0517highres_010-au-blog

This is one of my favorite photos that Bob took while we were visiting our parents back in April in Philly. We were in my parents' backyard and my dad was taking Coco around to look at the flowers. It wasn't a grand moment. It wasn't a special occasion. It was just normal life. Yet that sweet moment captured tells such a big story. I can't wait to give this framed print to my dad for Father's Day.

To recap, here are a couple tips for capturing the everyday:

1. Bring your camera with you everywhere. At first, it will seem more like a pain then it's worth. But once you get used to capturing more of life, it will come naturally. It helps to have something smaller that won't be a pain to lug around (even an iPhone works!). But once you get into the habit of it, it becomes second nature.

2. Get in the photo. It doesn't matter what you're wearing or what your hair and makeup look like. Your kids think you look amazing no matter what! And someday, when your kids look back on these photos they want to see their parents (and grandparents) in the photos with them, too. 

3. Capture those moments and then put the camera away. You don't have to be taking photos all day long, but bring it out during certain moments where it just feels right. You can never shoot too much and with kids, you often have to shoot more to make sure you get a good shot. And then stick the camera in your bag, soak up those moments that pass too quickly and enjoy life!

P.S. Two fun things...

1) Artifact Uprising has kindly offered 10% off any item with code OHJOYFD10 valid through June 1, 2016. AND...

2) You can enter your email address in the box below to enter to win $250 credit with Artifact Uprising towards a photo gift for your Dad/Husband/Grandpa for Father's Day. Entries close on May 31st at midnight.

UPDATE: Congrats to Courtney S. from Vancouver BC, Canada for being our winner this time!

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 by Mary Costa, styling by Julia Wester, personal photos by Joy and Bob Cho}

a bedtime kit DIY... 10 May 2016

a bedtime kit DIY

If you’re a parent, you know how special bedtime can be for you and your little one. For me, it’s a time I get to wind down for the day and prepare my kids for their night of restful slumber.

To make the bedtime routine a little easier, today, I’m going to show you how to make this super cute and functional Bedtime Kit to keep in your nursery, bathroom, or even to give to take to Grandma’s house. Watch our newest video to see how to transform a simple canvas bin into something special for your babe's slumber...

{Photo by Casey Brodley, video by Jenner Brown}

a mother's strength... 6 May 2016

DSC04158-oh-joy-mom

When I was in 5th grade, I had a favorite snack at a local cafe that I would get pretty regularly. My mom would drive me to the cafe, wait in the car right in front, and I would pop in and buy it to take home and we'd be on our way. I had probably gone to that cafe multiple times a week for months. But one day, I went in for my usual snack stop-in, and the cashier at the shop had some of his friends hanging out while he was working at the register. They were a bunch of high school teenagers which in itself was intimidating to a 10 year old. While I was waiting for my food, I heard them making sounds about me like "ching, chang, chong" over and over again. For an Asian American kid struggling just to fit in, that's pretty much the worst thing you can hear. Tears started flowing out of my eyes and I ran back to the car leaving my food behind. I got into the car with tears streaming down my face and told my mom I just wanted to go home.

She asked me what had happened. I didn't want to tell her and only said I didn't want to go back there ever again. I finally told her about what had happened, and she replied, "Wait here. I will be right back." When she came back, she got the food I had left behind and she said, "He won't bother you again". It took me a while to want to go back there but when I did, the guy apologized to me. Still to this day, I have no idea what my mom said to him.

My mom is one of the most private and non-confrontational people I know. But in that moment, any worries about confrontation or her broken English completely went away. She did what moms do...she made me feel like everything was going to be okay and did her best to ensure that I would not get hurt in that way again.

It's amazing how much more inner strength you gain once you have someone you want to be strong for...someone you want to protect. Like all those mothers who somehow lift heavy objects that have fallen on their child or that warrior that comes out of you if anyone attempts to hurt someone you love. Inner strength doesn't mean that you aren't scared or that you know exactly how things will turn out, it's that you know things will be okay at some point in the near or distant future. You project that strength to those around you so that they, too, feel assured and okay with whatever obstacles (big or small) they may be facing.

As we approach Mother's Day, I can think of so many times my mom has been strong for me throughout my life in both big and small moments. Have you seen this P&G Thank You, Mom video? This really captures the ways I want to be strong for my children and makes me think about my own mom and all that she did for me. It will make you cry but also make you appreciate the strength of your own mother and inspire you to be that for your own children today or someday in the future...

Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing mamas out there!

This post is in partnership with P&G. All words are my own.

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.  

{Photo by Bob Cho}

a mix & match nursery... 21 Apr 2016

Oh Joy for Target Nursery

As a mother of two, I know how important it is for a baby's room to feel happy and inspiring for a baby, but also cozy and inviting for parents as well. Take a look at our newest video to see how we transformed a room in multiple ways (from girl to neutral to boy) using the mix-and-match bedding and decor in the Oh Joy for Target Nursery Collection!

P.S. You can find all of the pieces in the video right here! And if you have any questions about out-of-stock items, please see our weekly updates here.

// CREDITS //
Brought to you by: Oh Joy + Target
Creative Direction: Joy Cho
Video: Jenner Brown
Music: “Beautiful“ by Emily Kopp
Production and Styling: Julia Wester
Production Asst: Casey Brodley
Graphics: Angie Stalker
Hair & Makeup: Danielle Walch

dressing the babe / spring stripes... 28 Mar 2016

Oh Joy / Mama and Baby Style

Oh Joy / Mama and Baby Style

Spring is here! My friend, Jen, has this AMAZING bougainvillea wall in her backyard that is so full and lush right now. So I thought it would be fun to take Coco and do a "part 2" of this post with Ruby from last year. Kids love bougainvillea because when they fall to the ground, they dry up and sound crunchy under their little feet. Coco didn't want to leave...

Oh Joy / Mama Style

I will never tire of a good maxi dress. I wanted to dress it up a bit so I added my go-to vintage gold belt to give it a more polished look. 

Mama outfit / 1. dRA dress, 2. vintage gold belt, 3. Target hat, 4. Bryr sandals, 5. Akola necklace

Oh Joy / Baby Style

There's honestly nothing cuter on a baby girl than a little romper. Ahhhh! And this one, has crotch snaps which I can seriously appreciate for diaper changes!

Babe outfit / 6. Pausch romper, 7. June & January hair clip, and 8. Zuzii shoes.

Oh Joy / Mama and Baby Style

Oh Joy / Baby Style

How is my little munchkin getting SO big?!? 

{Photos by Casey Brodley, outfit styling by Joy Cho, flat styling by Julia Wester. Coco is 17 months and has a mind of her own.}

oh joy for boys... 24 Mar 2016

Oh Joy for Target / Baby Boy Apparel

One of the things I hear most from moms of boys is that there aren't as many cool options for dressing them as there are for girls. Being a mom of girls, I haven't had to through that challenge. But I know when I've been on the hunt for baby boy gifts in the past, it can be hard to find a lot outside of typical blue and khaki with standard stripes and plaids. Which is why when we designed the pieces for our Oh Joy for Target baby apparel collection, I wanted to make sure to offer more patterns, colors, and simply just fun mix-and-match items for boys, too! (Oh Joy isn't only for girls, anymore ;).

Target-boy-layette-1

Here are a just a few of my favorites from playwear to sleepwear for the little guys in your life.

Oh Joy for Target / Baby Boy Apparel

Oh Joy for Target / Baby Boy Apparel

Look at those cuties! I can't even take it. I'm SO glad we got to add in some non-girl specific items in our newest collection for all those moms of boys (or those who want gender-neutral clothing) who have been asking for it over the last couple years! If there's anything else you're hoping for in future baby collections, please let me know that, too!

{Top photo: Ever via Cassidy, Bottom photos: Andy and Otto via Angie}

oh joy for target baby apparel! 3 Mar 2016

Oh Joy for Target Baby Apparel

Oh-joy-target-layette-newsletter

I'm excited to share a peek at the newest addition to the Oh Joy for Target line...baby clothes! We'll have over 50 different sets of easily wearable, washable, mix-and-match pieces for all babies (girl, boy, and gender neutral) sized from 0-24 months. We’ve designed the collection so you can mix and match the entire collection, making dressing your babe super easy and fun. If a top gets dirty, swap it out for a different style or print from the collection and continue on with your day. The pieces will launch this Sunday, March 6th (online at Target.com only).

Watch our fun video below to see more of the collection!

Also, stay tuned tomorrow morning at 10am PST for a special Periscope where I will show you every single piece from the collection LIVE on Periscope. You can ask me questions and see all details up close before the baby clothing launches online. So if you're not yet on Periscope, sign up and follow me @ohjoy so you can be alerted to the live broadcast and watch it in real time (or within 24 hours while the broadcast is still up)!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, video by Jenner Brown, flats by Julia Wester and Jessica Hong. All clothes shown are Oh Joy for Target. Shoes on Coco by Zuzii and Freshly Picked.} 

dressing the babe / fancy florals... 24 Feb 2016

Dressing the Babe / Fancy Florals

Dressing the Babe / Fancy Florals

When you have kids, one of the last things you think about is getting dressed up with them. Who puts their kids in fancy clothes, anyway?!? Well, we decided to get dressed up in our latest Dressing the Babe because it's fun to feel a little extra special (and a baby in a swishy skirt or dress is pretty epic). Whether it's for a wedding or other special occasion, here's my take on a fancy outfit for me and my babe...

Dressing the Babe / Fancy Florals

I'm a sucker for a pleated skirt—it adds so much movement and texture to the outfit. I also added in a dickie (when's the last time you've seen someone wear those?) to add a little extra softness and contrast around the neck of this floral blouse.

Mama outfit / 1. Marimekko blouse, 2. Le cou Miette collar, 3. J.Crew pleated skirt (past season / similar), 4. BC shoes (past season / similar).

Dressing the Babe / Fancy Florals

Oh, this outfit that I wish came in my size! There are just no words...

Babe outfit / 5. Crew & Lu floral top, 6. Crew & Lu striped skirt, 7. Crew & Lu collar, 8. shoes by Zuzii.

Dressing the Babe / Fancy Florals

Dressing the Babe / Fancy Florals

If you have kids (or even if you don't), try getting extra dressed up for a day. Don't worry about what will stain, if your kids will make a mess of their outfit (or yours) and just enjoy that fancy feeling. It's pretty fun not to always be so practical sometimes, too.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, flat styling by Julia Wester, outfit styling by Joy Cho. Coco is 16 months and sadly, a real toddler now!}

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