Oh Joy

an oh joy for target launch party! 4 Feb 2016

Oh Joy for Target

In just a few days—this Sunday, February 7th—we'll be launching the new Oh Joy for Target home decor collection in all Target stores in the US and online. Last month, we held a launch party with some of our LA friends and colleagues to celebrate the new collection and give a peek at what's to come. Come check it out for a look at what you can expect to find starting Sunday...

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#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}

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}

oh joy for target / home decor and nursery collections! 4 Jan 2016

Oh Joy for Target Home Decor

I hope you all had an amazing holiday and new year! I'm happy to be back and starting 2016 off with a bang. Last year, we were working on some top secret new things. I'm so excited to finally reveal a peek at our newest Oh Joy! for Target collection! Our new home decor and nursery collections take Oh Joy! into the home even more and bring you items designed to add color, whimsy, and a touch of surprise.

Oh Joy for Target Home Decor

Oh Joy for Target Home Decor

The Oh Joy! for Target spring home decor collection (which debuts in stores and online February 7th) is made up of 20 pieces from vases to pillows to end tables to brass party animals. I wanted to create a collection of cheerful home décor pieces that were grounded in bright colors and quirky details. Check out a few of my favorites above!

Oh Joy for Target Nursery Collection

Oh Joy for Target Nursery Collection

Oh Joy for Target Nursery Collection

The Oh Joy! for Target nursery collection (which debuts in select stores and online now in early January) includes 26 items for your babe's new space ranging from crib bedding to swaddles to changing pad covers to diaper bags. I love creating nurseries that a baby will sleep, play, and grow with. In this collection, we mixed fun icons, mix-and-match prints, and notes of whimsy to create a truly lovable space that both parents and their little ones will enjoy. 

Next Monday, January 11th, I'll be sharing a more detailed look at more of the products LIVE on Periscope. 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)!

I can't wait for you to see them in person and stock up on your favorite pieces! You'll be able to see it all at Target.com/OhJoy as they arrive.

{All photos via Target} 

dressing the babe / winter florals... 18 Dec 2015

Dressing the Babe / Mama and Baby Style

Dressing the Babe / Baby Style

In our last Dressing the Babe for this year, I was inspired by keeping florals going into winter (who says florals are for summer, only?!). My little nugget, Coco, is walking! So we went for a walk near the LA River to scoop up the last bit of December before the end of the year...

Dressing the Babe / Mama Style

I'm loving long dresses lately, especially those that cinch at the waist a bit to give a little shape. Accented by a floral necklace, I love the contrast of the pop of color against the deep green hue.

Mama outfit / 1. D.Ra dress, 2. Vegan jacket from Anthropologie from last season (similar here and here), 3. Gaia necklace, 4. Loeffler Randall booties (past season)

Dressing the Babe / Baby Style

If you have changed a diaper with a wiggly baby before you know that rompers with snaps in the crotch are a must. I love little rompers, but often they don't have snaps and so changing a diaper involves having to undress your babe completely.

Babe outfit / 5. Thief & Bandit romper, 6. June & January cardi, 7. Crew & Lu pom headband, 8. Zuzii shoes, 9. Afternoon Faun Octopus

Dressing the Babe / Mama and Baby Style

Dressing the Babe / Baby Style

Ah...this face! This face makes me want to have another baby (no just kidding, not really). But I do love that face. That's Coco impersonating Adele saying, "Hello, it's me..."

{Photos by Casey Brodley, flat styling by Julia Wester, outfit styling by Joy Cho. Coco is 14 months and walking around town like she owns it.}

a little bundle {giveaway}... (NOW CLOSED) 1 Dec 2015

Cheerily Baby Clothing

In preparation for the holidays, we have a super cute giveaway from the folks at Cheerily. We're giving away the above set—that includes 2 baby tees and the custom baby hoodie and sweats ($100 value each)— to THREE lucky readers. You can customize the back of the hoodie with a word of your choice (I chose BABE). So whether you're looking to outfit your own babe or gift another kiddo in your life, these are so fun and perfect for both boys and girls!

Bonus! This giveaway is open to all readers, located anywhere in the world! To enter, please visit Cheerily, then leave a comment here telling me which babe you'd gift this set to if you won. Entries close this Friday, December 4th at 8am PST and three winners will be chosen at random.

*This giveaway is open to those anywhere in the world. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $100 USD total value per winner. Winners will be contacted via email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after.

{Photo by Casey Brodley}

how to create a portrait photo studio at home... 23 Nov 2015

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Maybe you’ve decided you’d like to take a family holiday photo or some cute photos of your kids as gifts for relatives, but a professional photographer is out of budget. Or you simply waited until the last minute and need to take some photos ASAP. I've partnered with Olympus today to show you how easy it is to set up a simple backdrop within a small space of your home to take these photos yourself!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

1. Make your own seamless backdrop. All you need is a wall in your home or garage that gets good natural light that you can temporarily cover. Depending on how many people will be in the photo, the width you need might vary from 5-9 feet wide depending on how many people will be in the photo. If you plan to do this often, it's worth getting one roll of seamless paper in either 5 ft wide to photograph less than 2 people or 9 ft wide for bigger families with 3 or more people.

If you’re feeling crafty, simply buy a giant roll of white seamless paper and go crazy with paint to create the backdrop of your dreams. Or, you can make it easier on yourself by using fabric that already comes in a great color or pattern. Find a bed sheet in a fun pattern or buy a few yards of fabric at a local fabric store.

To hang the background, simply use thumbtacks or blue painters tape to adhere the top and sides of the paper/fabric to the wall, then let the rest of it drape down to the ground with enough room for the subject to stand on it. You'll need at least 10 feet long in total regardless of whether you use paper or fabric. With either option, it's so easy to roll up the seamless paper or just fold up the fabric and save it for next time.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

2. Lighting is key for taking a good photo easily. You want indirect, natural sunlight especially when taking the photos yourself. A professional photographer might know how to combat harsh lighting with diffusion techniques or with their camera settings, but you want to set yourself up for success. Usually the beginning of day and end of day are the best times to have indirect light, but it will depend on your location and where the sunlight comes through the window.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

3. Sit, stand, dance, jump! Just because you’re in front of a backdrop, doesn’t mean you need to stand still. If you’re using the backdrop for a baby’s monthly photo, you can have them sitting in front of the wall or laying down on the same background. This makes for a great way to have consistent baby update photos throughout the year because you can use the same fabric as a backdrop and they can go from laying down when they are tiny to sitting or standing as they get bigger.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

4. Use a remote shutter release. Often people feel limited because they don’t have anyone available to take a photo of them or of their family. So, if you don’t have a friend you could ask, you can do it on your own with your camera and a tripod. The camera we used to take these portraits, the Olympus E-M10 Mark II, lets you turn your smart phone into a remote shutter. So you can control when it takes the photo without relying on anyone else or having to run in and out of frame like a crazy person with a self-timer.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

5. Add props! While props can get cheesy, it doesn’t have to be a mustache and silly glasses. When you’re taking photos in your home, you have less of an outside environment to work with, so make it fun for yourself and bring in a few quirky items that will allow you to let loose and show off your personality and spirit.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

6. Family photos aren’t just for families with kids. If you’re a couple or a girl with a cute pup, your friends and family still want to see your face! So use this as a chance to make a great holiday card, framed prints for family, or custom thank you cards. 

You can create this at home studio any time of year especially when you always find yourself saying “I wish I just had a few really good photos of my family”.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Let's talk cameras for a second. We are always asked what type of cameras we use for Oh Joy photos. While we will happily share what we use, the quality of cameras we use is a higher end, professional camera that I wouldn't recommend to someone who needs a camera for personal use. So, I was pretty excited to get to try the Olympus E-M10 Mark II which is what was used to shoot all the portraits in this post. It’s a high quality camera at a price point that is more reasonable for personal use (under $600). It allows you to change lenses, you can shoot in manual (if you want), it has a mirrorless lens (which allows you to have a more precise focus), and it's small enough to carry around in your bag. It's a great compromise between a DSLR and a point and shoot and is an entry level camera that has features of a professional one and now I finally have something to recommend to the at-home photographer. Stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow on Instagram where we'll be giving away FIVE of these cameras!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Regardless of what camera you use (you can even use your iPhone if you need to), hopefully this will help inspire you to take more photos of you and your family within the convenience of your own home.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Olympus. 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, backdrops by Ariel Fulmer. Coco's outfit by Such Great Heights. Special thanks to Olive Brodley and Ariel Fulmer.}

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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coco's 1st birthday party! 4 Nov 2015

Oh Joy / Coco's First Birthday Party

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our little Coco's first birthday! I shared some of the materials we used for decorating her party, and here are a few photos from the actual party. Now let me warn you, it was super hot that day—like 100 degrees hot. The weather threw of a bit of a wrench in what I imagined to be a playful and relaxing party at the park. But despite the heat, everyone still had a fun time celebrating my favorite 1 year old.

This is a long post with lots of photos and details described, so click below if you want to see more!

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