Oh Joy

who am i? 5 Oct 2015

Oh Joy

Last week, I traveled to Vancouver (more about what I did later this week). I was supposed to take my family with me but ended up making it a work-only trip at the last minute. Because I had been planning the logistics of traveling with the kids in my head for the months leading up to this trip, it was kind of a sigh of relief to make the short trip on my own. To travel solo is a very rare treat these days when I go on work trips. And while I was sad they didn't make this trip, it was so peaceful to be able to just bring a light bag and go through security with minimal belongings.

But then you know what happened? I watched other parents at the airport with their kids—doing those things I normally do like making sure your kids are fed, entertained, and hopefully not screaming the whole time while carrying a ton of stuff for "just in case". I empathized with them and wanted them to know I understood what they were going through. But then I also felt weirdly sad—like no one knew that I was a mother and that all of those things are things that I usually experience, too. It was the first time that I felt like I was defining my identity and how I wanted to project myself to strangers was that of a mother.

It made me think...how do I define who I am? How do YOU define who you are? When we meet strangers on the plane, we almost always talk first about our jobs or what we do for a living. We never really talk about what we like to do on the weekends or our favorite dessert. Sure, I have a fancy professional bio that I use most of the time for work stuff, but how would I define myself to a complete stranger if I had to tell them briefly who I am?

So this is what I came up with...

My name is Joy. I design things that I hope will make people happy. I come up with ideas for life that I hope will surprise and delight, and I share those ideas on the Internet. I am the mother to two girls who have taught me to enjoy the simplicity of every day. I am the wife to a person who has always believed in me even when I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I work really hard, and I go after what I want. I try and spend my time doing things that make me happy because life is too short to spend your time doing too many things that you hate. I also think about ice cream...all the time.

What about you guys? Who are YOU?

{Photo by LK Griffin

Chocolate Chip and Caramel Sandwich Cookies... 1 Oct 2015

Chocolate Chip and Caramel Sandwich Cookies

In honor of National Homemade Cookie Day today and as a Part 2 to yesterday's post, I wanted to share this very delicious recipe for Chocolate Chip and Caramel Sandwich Cookies by the ladies of Sweet Laurel Bakery...

Continue reading " Chocolate Chip and Caramel Sandwich Cookies... " »

career day / bakers...30 Sep 2015

Career Day with Sweet Laurel Bakery

Career Day with Sweet Laurel Bakery

Career Day with Sweet Laurel Bakery

When I asked Ruby if she wanted to visit a couple of awesome ladies who make "treats", of course, she screamed with excitement. What Ruby didn't know was that the bakery I was about to take her to for "Career Day" is gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free! I, personally, don't have any food limitations or allergies, but when I come across food companies that make me crave their food or treats even without "all the normal stuff", I am immediately fascinated. So Ruby and I took a trip to see Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas of Sweet Laurel Bakery, and they showed us how to make some amazing Coconut Chocolate Chip and Caramel Sandwich Cookies that I am craving as I write this. Here's a peek into this amazing baked goods company started by two friends united by a love of whole food...

Continue reading " career day / bakers... " »

from doodles to works of art...29 Sep 2015

Ruby Painting

A few months ago, Ruby made a really fun painting while visiting artist Kim West during one of our Career Day trips. Now, we have so many pieces of Ruby's "art" that I don't keep (I just can't keep) every single piece. But this one was so large and vibrant, that I couldn't part with it...

Continue reading " from doodles to works of art... " »

party planning...28 Sep 2015

10 Favorite Party Pieces / Oh Joy

With two kids born in October, next month is turning out to be a party-packed month for us! Ruby is having a Fruity Dance Party with just a handful of her closest friends while Coco is having a Confetti Wild Animal Party filled with mostly our friends (you know how 1st birthdays go). Since I've been all over the web looking for various party ideas and decor, I wanted to share some of my favorites I've come across recently...

1. Little Cat Design Co. cake toppers, 2. Poppies for Grace feather garland, 3. Fuji Instax dotty film, 4. Poppies for Grace honeycomb fancy, 5. assorted animals from Michael's, 6. fruit honeycomb from Oh Happy Day, 7. jumbo confetti from Urban Outfitters,  8. cake toppers from Anthropologie, 9. Poppies for Grace gold candles, 10. scalloped gold bowls from Oh Happy Day shop.

P.S. Ruby's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd birthday parties...

happy friday + in my bag...25 Sep 2015

Oh Joy Bag / Styled by Emily Henson

One of my favorite prop stylists, Emily Henson, recently featured the contents of my bag on her blog. I had no idea the contents of my bag could look so good, but leave it to a stylist to turn the madness into a beautiful shot! You can read the full story about what I carry around in there and why right here!

Have a great weekend guys!

{Photo by Casey Brodley for Emily Henson}

we need a textile designer!24 Sep 2015

Oh Joy Textile Designer

It's been said that if you work at the Oh Joy office, you get pregnant within seconds! Ha. We're having a baby boom over here, and my designer, Angie, will be going on maternity leave in a few weeks. I thought I could do her job AND my job while she's away. But then I realized I was being a crazy person. So, I am looking for a talented textile designer to help fill-in while Angie is on maternity leave. This is a great chance to work at our studio, build your portfolio, and get to be part of designing a bunch of Oh Joy products for upcoming collections! You can see a sampling above of the work that you'd get to do!

Duties include:
-Working with Joy on design/production of Oh Joy products
-Creating and designing original patterns and illustrations
-Putting patterns into repeat for production
-Drawing CADs
-Graphic design for promotional materials

-Ability to take art direction and translate that into designs, patterns, and illustrations (both hand-drawn and digitally-drawn)
-Ability to draw 2D CADs in illustrator
-A love of fashion, home decor, and children
-Resourceful, efficient, strong multi-tasker, organized, punctual, excellent attention to detail
-Enthusiastic, go-getter attitude, and exemplary work ethic
-Consistent availability
-Graphic design skills with advanced knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator

You must have prior experience (sorry, no entry-level candidates for this position). This is a paid, temporary, part-time (2-3 days per week) freelance position to run approximately from late October to December. Exact pay will be based on experience. You must live in the Los Angeles area and have transportation to get to our studio in Hollywood.

In order to apply, please download and fill out this application, then email it to: hi@ohjoy.com with the directions noted on the application. 

Label the subject of the email with: “OH JOY TEXTILE DESIGNER”. We are accepting applications now and reviewing them by Friday, October 2nd. If you or anyone you know fits the bill, we would love to hear from you!

dressing the babe / baby bird love...23 Sep 2015

Baby and Mama Style

Sometimes you see a piece of street art, and you just have to take a photo in front of it before it goes away never to return again. And, when you can get your baby to smile her toothless smile and capture it on film, that's even better...

Continue reading " dressing the babe / baby bird love... " »

oh joy from 2005 to 2015...22 Sep 2015

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

Last week, I celebrated ten years of Oh Joy! When I started this blog (and my business) 10 years ago, I never thought it would turn into my job. I never thought I'd make real, live friends through it. I never thought I'd connect with people all over the world and get to share my vision with complete strangers. I never thought that it would give me the opportunity to create something from nothing and create a job I truly love doing every day.

In celebration, I'm looking back at the last 10 years to show how things have changed and evolved and grown (both personally and professionally) in the last decade. This is a long post (but a fun one). So I hope you'll hang out and read along...

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2005 - This is when it all began. I left New York to move to Philly in pursuit of love. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) had just started his residency, and it was time to live together after almost 9 years of a long-distance relationship. I had just moved into a new apartment, gotten engaged, and was looking for a new design job. The world was my oyster, yet I was unemployed, broke, and yet trying to start my career and new life with my future husband. My blog in 2005 was about the things I loved—Bob, my cats, lip balm and potatoes, and snacks. I also started interviewing designers who I admired to ask them business advice and began sharing wedding vendors whose work I admired. I was looking for a new job and didn't yet know my blog would become a big part of it.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2006 - This was the year I got married. I shared a lot of wedding inspiration (remember, this is before all the awesome wedding blogs were out, so it was all from print magazine and tear-outs). I also started freelancing at this time and worked for a variety of different companies. I turned our dining room into an office and started showing a peek into my design inspirations and indie products I loved. This was the year that I realized I was getting freelance work through those who were reading my blog and decided to freelance full-time and turned "Oh Joy" into not just a blog but a design studio as well. This was the first (and last year) that I liked the color "chocolate brown". I still liked cats, too.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2007 -  By 2007, I was a somewhat legit business. I had design clients from around the country and was really immersed in Philadelphia and getting to know other designers/entrepreneurs there. I began a weekly design column for the local newspaper. I also launched a stationery line that year which gave me a taste of what manufacturing was like. This is the year I created one of my most recognized floral patterns for a card that now still lives on in wallpaper today. I started sharing my love of interiors and even got nominated in a Domino Magazine contest. It's funny to look back at the colors I liked back then and how much more muted my color palette was.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2008 - This is the year that blogs started to become a thing. It was a really good year for new bloggers and some of your favorite blogs probably started around this year. I loved sharing up-and-coming designers I was discovering and kept myself constantly scouring for what was fresh and new. While I was still blogging daily, I was also focused on growing my design business. I did a lot of freelance work for Urban Outfitters and was still selling my stationery line in stores around the country—including Anthropologie. I was sharing all things Philly and even getting design recognition locally. And, I hired my first intern!

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2009 - In 2009, we left the comforts of Philly to move to San Diego for one year for Bob's job. I was sad to go but opened my eyes (and tastebuds) to a new city. I started using a social media tool called Twitter and I started a second blog dedicated to my love of food (I soon realized how it didn't make sense to start a new blog and just merged the two together ;). After realizing how much I loved making products (but hated dealing with manufacturing), I began to work with more companies to license my designs. I began exploring more local sites and shooting more original photos and getting more comfortable taking photos for my blog.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2010 - I was loving San Diego life and going out to local events and eating my way through the city. I loved the weather so much, I begged Bob to look for a job on the West Coast so that I could stay in the sunshine forever. He found a job in Los Angeles and (after making sure our moms would be okay with us not moving back to Philly), off to LA we went! My first book, Creative, Inc., came out and we celebrated with my first book party (I still love this trailer we made)! I celebrated 5 years as a blogger and began adding in regular columns and contributors to my site. I began to develop real friendships with people I met through my blog (which now a days doesn't seem like a big deal, but back then was very new and kind of still weird ;). I began to acclimate myself to (yet another) new city.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2011 - As we began to start our future in LA, we also worked on starting our family. I announced my pregnancy, shared those bump photos along the way, and welcomed our first (life-changing) baby. I was working with a handful of freelancers who contributed to the site. I was managing 5 different freelancers, and we were posting 3 times a day! Bob (briefly) had a guy's column on Oh Joy which I loved but his real job took over, and I wasn't able to support his demand for a raise ;P. We were on Emily Henderson's show, Secrets from a Stylist on HGTV, and Emily almost gave me a heart attack with her first reveal all in pink and red. My design work was going well, but with the arrival of Ruby, I began to slow down on freelance design work and focus more on Oh Joy related projects. I also started using a new social media site called Pinterest ;)

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2012 - We were growing our content on the blog, and I was continuing to manage regular contributors as I transitioned into life with a newborn. However, after beginning to share more personal posts on my blog (especially when it came to those about motherhood), it felt weird for me to mix my voice with those of my contributors. I loved the visuals we were coming up with, but my blog didn't feel personal anymore. So, I took my blog back. I kindly let go of all of my freelance contributors who worked on columns for the site and went back to writing all the posts myself. It was ironic because my second book, Blog, Inc. had just come out, and here I was going in a direction that seemed like the opposite direction of where you'd think to go when you want to grow. But getting more personal felt right. We also celebrated Ruby's 1st birthday!

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2013 - My business was growing, and it was time to get help—not just remote freelancers that I had worked with previously, but actual employees who would work with me in person by my side. This was the year that my business really grew—I got a studio, hired my first two employees, and signed licensing deals with The Land of Nod and Target that would launch the following year. I was also creating more video content and trying to expand the types of content I was creating for the blog. Pinterest was a growing space for Oh Joy and images from this post got re-pinned 1.5 millions times within 2 days of the post going live. We also went to France, and Ruby learned the joys of baguettes and chocolate croissants.

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2014 - This was my biggest (and hardest) year yet. We launched our first Oh Joy collection for Target and baby bedding with The Land of Nod. We stopped having banner ads on the blog and blog income came from sponsored content instead. I focused more on outside projects (Oh Joy book in the works, our line at Target and other licenses) and had the blog be the companion to the Oh Joy world. I announced our 2nd baby and loved sharing style tips for other pregnant mamas. So we made my favorite video series to date—Dressing the Bump. I had a bumpy pregnancy with gestational diabetes and 3 weeks of bed rest while trying to finish a book. But that all didn't matter once our newest babe arrived. The cherry on top of the cake of the best year yet professionally, was the arrival of our little Coco who made our family complete. 

Oh Joy Blog - 10 years

2015 - This year, we launched my 3rd book and a line of Oh Joy Band-Aids,. I expanded my Dressing the Bump series from last year into Dressing the Babe which is so much fun for me to get a chance to show my personal style and take some fun photos with my kids. And because it's taken me a while to "not feel guilty" about the fact that I choose to work and own my own business and be a working mom, I've decided to show what I've come to realize my strength is as a mother—that my kids get to see their mom creating her own job, pursuing her dreams, and hopefully teaching them about passion and going after what you want in the process. Our "Career Day" series was inspired by this after seeing what Ruby would naturally pick up on by getting to see what I for a living. This year isn't over yet, but we've been working really hard on a lot of exciting things coming out next year!

So, here we are 10 years later. Lots of people ask...what's next? What's your plan for the next five years? Honestly, I don't have it totally mapped out. I have learned to put out a few goals out there (more products, doing more new things that challenge me, etc.) but also to know that there are paths that will reveal themselves and things I will do that I don't even know about yet. When it comes to blogging, I can't believe I'm still doing it. I still love sharing my ideas and my vision with you all, but to be honest, it does get harder and harder to keep coming up with new ideas every day. There are so many talented people out there, and I am always thinking about how I can improve and how I can share ideas in new ways with you. If there's anything you'd love to see here in the near future, please let me know. I always want to hear from you guys. And, again, simply thank you for just being here and for choosing to spend any part of your time here. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

oh joy answers / balancing work & family...21 Sep 2015

Oh Joy Answers

Since I'll be posting a review of the last 10 years of my business and blog soon, I thought it would be fun to address one thing that has changed everything for me from 2005 to now—my family. Becoming a parent has given me the greatest joy (and also the biggest stressor for me as a business woman). It's impacted me in so many ways—creatively, logistically, and even in the way that I connect with others.

We have a new batch of Oh Joy Answers videos, and here's a new one that addresses "How to Balance Work and Family" and "How to Prepare For a Baby" when you have a business. I share a little bit about how I handle the above questions in hopes it will help some of you too...

And, P.S. I've been doing weekly Periscopes (usually 10am PST on Fridays...I'm @ohjoy) to show you some behind-the-scenes of what we're working on, but I also answer live questions there, too. I've been finding that to be a great format for answering some simpler questions you guys have. But I'll still make videos for longer ones or for some of the more commons questions that come up!


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