Oh Joy

one of my favorite places to go for inspiration... 8 Jul 2015

Oh Joy Pattern Play / snacks

Sometimes when I'm in a rut, one of my favorite places to go is to a Japanese grocery store! It sounds funny to think of shopping for food when I need a change of pace, but what I find are aisles upon aisles of random foods, snacks, and random home decor items that are different than those I normally come across. Really, any sort of ethnic grocery store does wonders for me to get out of my element and see things differently (it's like traveling to another country without going too far!).

P.S. I loved these snacks I found on a recent trip to Little Tokyo, so we had to make a fun image to show them off!

{Creative Direction by Joy Cho, photo by Casey Brodley, production and styling by Julia Wester. Paper cups and plate from Oh Happy Day shop.} 

a framed photograph {giveaway}...(now closed) 7 Jul 2015

Max Wanger Print

One of my favorite photographers and good friend, Max Wanger, sees in a way that I can't even explain. I'm always blown away by his eye and how he captures images on a camera. Today, we have a very special giveaway, and Max is giving away a large framed print (a $700 retail value) to one lucky reader. The winner can choose from any print in his shop up to 30x45" in size as well as a frame color of your choice!

To enter, simply visit Max Wanger's Print Shop, then leave a comment here telling me which print you'd pick if you won! Entries must be posted by this Friday, July 10th, at 8 a.m. PST, and one winner will be chosen at random*. Good luck!

P.S. For Oh Joy readers, Max is also offering 15% off the entire shop. Enter code SUMMER15 at checkout through July 12th, 2015.

UPDATE: Congrats to Nicole F. from NJ for being our winner this time!

*This giveaway is open to those in the US only. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $700 USD total value for each winner. Winner will be contacted via email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after.

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}

have a great long weekend! 2 Jul 2015

Oh Joy Party Animals

Do you ever feel like your life is just flashing before your eyes like I feel this second as I write this post wondering how it got to be July already?!

I'm excited for this long weekend (because one of my favorite things in life is a three day weekend), pool time with the kids at a friend's house, eating random "holiday weekend" type foods, and just resting my brain a bit (or trying to, at least).

I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend, you party animals! I'll see you back here on Monday ;)

{Photo by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester. Oh Joy Band-Aids available here.}

dressing the babe / seeing shapes... 1 Jul 2015

Dressing the Babe / Mama and Baby Style

Dressing the Babe / Baby Style

It's been a hot week here in LA, so we're pulling out our summer gear with lighter pieces that are bold and fun.

Dressing the Babe / Mama Style

I'm still wearing a ton of button-up shirts because they make nursing (and pumping at work!) so much easier. And, give me a good pair of elastic waistband shorts that don't look like PJ's, and I'll wear them every single day!

Mama outfit / 1. LemLem shirt, 2. Target chambray shorts, 3. Target sandals, 4. BebeAndMe teething necklace.

Dressing the Babe / Baby Style

Babe outfit / 5. Rachel Pally baby dress, 6. Mini Boden leggings, 7. Zuzii shoes.

Dressing the Babe / Baby Style

P.S. I love this little nugget!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, outfit styling by Joy Cho, flat styling by Julia Wester. Coco is 8 months, and has been babbling "mama" and "dada". Wall outside the Echo Food Market.} 

little sips {giveaway} with lollaland...(now closed)30 Jun 2015

Lollaland
Lollaland

Lollaland

The first straw cup that Ruby ever drank out of was by Lollaland, so they have a special place in my heart for mealtime in our house. They recently came out with beautiful glass baby bottles that are made of durable, premium quality, borosilicate glass that is naturally BPA-, BPS- and phthalate-free. 

So today, we've partnered with Lollaland to give away (2) $200 gift cards to two lucky readers for anything on their site (cups, bottles, or meal time sets!)

AND, we have a really special addition to this giveaway today...for every entry, Lollaland will donate 1 item to Baby2Baby to help children in need. 

To enter, simply visit Lollaland's website then leave a comment here telling me which items you'd pick if you won! Entries must be posted by this Friday, July 3rd, at 8 a.m. PST, and two winners will be chosen at random*. Good luck!

P.S. For Oh Joy readers, Lollaland is also offering 20% off + free shipping through July 7th. Simply enter OHJOY20 at checkout.

UPDATE: Congrats to Stephanie M. from NJ and Suzy B. from CT for being our winners this time!

*This giveaway is open to those in the US only. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $200 USD total value for each winner. Winners will be contacted via email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after.

{Photos by Caroline Tran}

why i’ll miss being pregnant...29 Jun 2015

Oh Joy Maternity Photo

As Coco inches towards a year old, I've recently realized that I'm actually kind of sad to be moving on from the pregnancy and baby phase of my life. Bob and I always planned we'd have two kids, and our family feels perfect with two (and no I'm not changing my mind and having another). But lately I have been really missing the days of being pregnant. It feels crazy to me that I am saying that because those times aren't always so fun. In my first pregnancy, I had terrible nausea (I probably threw up 40 times) and got gallstones so bad that had to have my gallbladder removed when Ruby was 5 weeks old. And then in my last pregnancy, I was placed on bed rest for early contractions and got gestational diabetes!

But when you know it's your last kid, it really feels like I'm closing a chapter on one part of my life. And because I didn't expect to feel this way (and maybe some of you know how I'm feeling?), I finally just sat down and thought about the reasons why I'll miss being pregnant...

1. My self-confidence was always its highest when pregnant. It was the only time in my life that I wasn't self-conscious about my body at all and felt more beautiful than ever.

2. It's a time that you can just trust nature to do its thing and let your body do the job of growing a baby. There is no other thing in life where a task is being completed while you are eating/working/sleeping/watching a movie. But a baby can be grown in your body at the same time as doing all those things (and more). 

3. People are just nicer to you. Men open doors for you. Other women look at you with kind and compassionate faces. People offer to help you carry heavy packages. There is just a kindness that comes to you from strangers that is incomparable.

4. The feeling of a baby moving around inside your belly. It was always my favorite thing ever. My friends always joked that I rubbed my belly all the time. But to me it was just me wanting to feel that little babe do her thing with her little butt or foot pushing and pressing. And it was that feeling that constantly reminded me of what was happening inside.

5. Childbirth. Okay, so before you call me crazy and close your browser, I am not saying I like childbirth. I've had one baby with no epidural and one baby with one, so I know how childbirth feels in a couple different ways. And while it's crazy and painful and all kinds of stuff that people never tell you, it gives you a newfound respect for yourself that you even went through it. It's like, "Holy crap. I just made a human and now this human is coming out of my body." You feel tired and beat up, but you make it through it in one piece with the best prize ever.

As I say farewell to my baby-making days, I am looking forward to the next phase of seeing my kids grow and experiencing all the new phases of life that come with each age. And for now I will just live vicariously through all those other pregnant ladies out there. Just warning you...if I see you on the street and you happen to pregnant, I might even be one of those creepy strangers that rubs your belly without asking ;)

{Photo by Rachel Cast, styling by Tori Hendrix, hair and makeup by Erica Beukelman, and florals by Siren Floral Co.. Lace dress from Dreamers and Lovers. See my other maternity photos right here.}

happy friday + seeing patterns...26 Jun 2015

Oh Joy Pattern Play Striped Car

Happy Friday guys! We've been in heavy design mode over here working on some new products for next year. With patterns and colors swirling around in my head even more than usual, we put together this fun image. I can't wait to tell you guys what we're working on! Ahhhh!

Are there any Oh Joy products you're hoping to see next?

I hope you have a great weekend, guys!

{Creative Direction by Joy Cho, photos by Casey Brodley, production and styling by Julia Wester. Toy car is vintage that was painted. Striped paper by Rifle paper Co.

{oh joy eats} howlin ray's fried chicken...25 Jun 2015

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Fried chicken is probably one of my favorite indulgences on earth! So when I heard that a fried chicken truck had recently opened in our area, we had to go. 

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's is a husband and wife team who take their truck around Los Angeles spreading fried chicken cheer wherever they go. Chef Johnny, an LA native, has worked professionally under Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Matsuhisa. Amanda grew up with her grandparents in the heartland, growing, hunting, fishing, harvesting and preserving most of their food supply and spending summers in East Texas learning about southern soul and hospitality. After spending some time in Nashville last year, they were introduced to Nashville Hot Chicken and wanted to bring that flavor and speciality to LA! And, dang, is it GOOD! It's so good that I've had it three times since they opened just weeks ago...

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's Fried Chicken Truck / Los Angeles

Howlin' Ray's signature is spicy fried chicken. I love spice, but the hottest of the hot (The Howlin' Hot) is actually too much for me, so I tend to go for the Medium or the Hot which offers a nice tingle of spice without making it so you can't breathe or see straight! And, if you can't take any heat or just like the classics, there's always the traditional Country Fried chicken, too.

Fantastic Donuts / Los Angeles

To accompany those spicy bites, every month Howlin' Ray's partners with a local baked goods company to offer some sweets to cap off the meal. During this visit, these cutie pie animal donuts by Fantastic Donuts were part of the arsenal. Have you ever seen cuter donuts?!

If you're in LA or visiting LA soon, and you like fried chicken, Howlin' Ray's is a must. You can see their weekly schedule here and their menu right here

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

go out and get inspired!24 Jun 2015

Ergo-mod

When you're a new mom, sometimes you can feel stuck inside bound by nap schedules and baby feedings. But one thing I've learned after two kids is that you just have to get out and do things to recharge your brain and find your own sanity. You don't have to be stuck at home all day, and you can take your little one along while you explore. I'll often time my outings with Coco's active awake time or with the beginning of a nap so that she's happy and comfortable. Then, I can wear her in my Ergo Baby 360 carrier so that she's close by me while I'm soaking up our surroundings.

Here are a few of my favorite types of places to go (with babe in tow) when I need a change of scenery...

Shout and About / Los Angeles

1 / Explore Your Neighborhood - It seems so simple to get out and explore where you live. But sometimes you find unexpected things even in familiar surroundings. For me, it's not always about going somewhere grand but just taking a walk near by. In Silver Lake (the area of Los Angeles that I live in), there are tons of hidden stair cases (like the one above) that people use as short cuts through the hills. And window shopping is one of my favorite things to do—I get so inspired by the ways people make a retail space come to life (those balloons)!

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

Butterfly Pavilion / Los Angeles

2 / Get inspired by nature - As I kid, I loved exploring plants, flowers, and butterflies. So we visited the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum where you can walk among all the beautiful, fluttering butterflies and learn about all the different types that exist. After Coco woke up from her nap, she wanted to check out the butterflies, too!

Piñata District / Los Angeles

Piñata District / Los Angeles

Piñata District / Los Angeles

Piñata District / Los Angeles

3 / Find an unexpected source of inspiration - I might not have a need for a piñata anytime soon. But when there's a whole Piñata District in downtown LA dedicated to piñatas of all kinds, there's something so inspiring about seeing all the crazy types of pieces that can be made. Not only did I feel refreshed after some new outings, but Coco loved it, too! It's never too early to show your babe all the cool things that exist out there in the world.

Where do you guys go when you need some new-found inspiration?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Ergo—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 Casey Brodley. My outfits: Rainbow stairs, top by Ace & Jig (past season); Butterfly Pavilion, dress by Loyal HanaPiñata District, skirt by Zara; shoes worn in all, by Toms. I'm wearing this Ergo Baby 360 carrier.}

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