Oh Joy

a few fun things... 9 May 2016

Ban.do pencil case

Lately, it's been very on-trend for adults to discover their child-like spirit with items meant to inspire us to just let go of our grown-up thinking (just for a second). Here are a few things for finding your inner youth we're loving lately...

Pencil Case by Ban.do (shown above)— Why did we stop using pencil cases after the age of 17? They are awesome and so useful (And, are useful for things other than pencils)!

Flowers coloring book

Flowers coloring book by Brittany Jepsen — Brittany is one of my favorite DIY bloggers and her coloring book is nothing short of beautiful. I love the sophisticated florals with a touch of whimsy that makes coloring feel both meditative and fun!

Pipsticks Sticker Subscription

Sticker subscriptions by Pipsticks — every month you get a cool, assorted pack of stickers...I mean, my 3-12 year old self is loving this. And, my current self, too.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester}

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.

the most beautiful açai bowls... 5 May 2016

Frozen Açaí Bowls

Even though I live in Los Angeles (the land of the super healthy), I can't say I live that gluten-free, macrobiotic, eat-some-oxygen-for-breakfast kind of life. I like being healthy when I can, but I also love things that taste good (hello donuts and fried chicken). And the combo of those two things can be hard to find.

In walks Amazebowls, a company I came across at a recent event and fell in love with their açaí bowls. If you're not familiar with açaí, it's a berry from South America that has been coveted for its health benefits. And, it actually tastes good (like blueberries mixed with a touch of chocolate). So we asked Amazebowls to share a recipe for Açaí Bowls with us so we can all recreate this deliciousness at home. This was the best and most beautiful breakfast ever (I ate two the day we did this shoot)...and makes for a great snack or pick-me-up pretty much any time of day...

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changing your career in your 30's...(part 1) 4 May 2016

Changing Careers in Your 30's

As someone who loves my job, I am super passionate about helping people discover what they really want to do for a living and figuring out ways to get there. Our "career" is something we think about from the time we're a kid with everyone asking us what we want to be when we grow up. And then we start to get more serious about our future careers in high school, then more so into any additional schooling after that. But what happens when the career you went to school for or that you've been working at for years and years isn't what you thought it would be or isn't making you happy?

Two of my employees, Julia and Courtney, both came to Oh Joy from different careers with no prior experience in the jobs they now do at Oh Joy. Julia was a reality TV producer and Courtney was a lawyer. They both changed careers in their 30's and are much happier ever since. I am not sure why your 30's tends to be a period of life changes, but it seems to be a time of reflection for a lot of people to change the course of their lives (both personally and professionally) for the better. In a two-part series, I wanted to share their stories and hope it will inspire those of you who may be stuck in a job rut that you, too, can find your true happiness in your career...

Julia-5-blog

Julia Wester, our Creative Producer and Stylist, crafts, styles, and puts together most of the visuals that you see here on this blog. She started at Oh Joy as a part-time assistant then moved to full-time and has gone from being an assistant to blooming into her role and doing more than I had ever expected and planned for her when she started working with me three years ago. Here's Julia's story as interviewed by me... 

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3 unexpected places to display plants at home... 3 May 2016

3 unexpected places to display plants at home

When I buy or receive a plant for my house, I tend to put them in the same spots—on the dining table, to the side of my TV (where my kids can't reach it), or on my desk at work. But since flowers and plants make everything better, I wanted to share a few not-so-typical places to put them. Once you try it, you'll never resort to the same old, same old spots again!

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behind the scenes / making an oh joy for target product... 2 May 2016

Oh Joy for Target

When creating an Oh Joy for Target collection, it often takes a year or more to take a product from an idea to the final piece you see in stores. I love sharing how things happen behind the scenes, so today, I'm sharing a little into the process of designing and making the products! We filmed this video over the course of a year so you could see all the steps in real life as they happened. Enjoy!

{Video by Jenner Brown, top photo by Target}

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}

shortcuts...27 Apr 2016

Shortcuts by Oh Joy!

Shortcuts by Oh Joy!

Shortcuts by Oh Joy!

We have a new series of short-length videos called "Shortcuts by Oh Joy!". They provide easy and quick tips that you can watch in less than a minute. These videos will only be posted on our Oh Joy Facebook page and YouTube channel, so please "like" the page or subscribe to the channel to see them regularly.

Click here to watch the first one!

{Video by Casey Brodley, production by Jessica Hongand styling by Julia Wester.}

a spring adventure kit!26 Apr 2016

Adventure-kit_01-blog

The weather has been so nice here in LA lately that it's really making me and my family change up our normal weekend routine and go on more unplanned adventures. Sometimes we'll have an impromptu picnic in a new park or drive to go find dinner not knowing where we'll end up. In order to prepare for any adventures that might come our way, we've put together a little Spring Adventure Kit.

Pack a bag with a few of these essentials, toss it in your car or by the door, and you're prepared to have instant fun ready to go whether you're heading to the park, to a friend's house, or to visit a relative last minute. Here's what's in my kit...

1. a kite, 2. Oh Joy! First Aid Kit and BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages by Oh Joy! to be ready in case of any boo-boos, 3. memory card game, 4. jump rope, 5. picnic mat, 6. binonculars, 7. bubbles, 8. mini flashlight, 9. sidewalk chalk,  10. water bottles, 11. a ball, 12. instant camera and film, and 13. a duffle or tote to hold everything in it's place when on the go! 

P.S. Everything here can be found in stores or online exclusively at Target.

{Photo by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester.}

palm frond wall hanging...25 Apr 2016

palm frond wall hanging

Because plants make every room look better, we wanted to create a wall hanging that makes it easy to add a little greenery to any space! If you live in a warm area where they happen to fall from the trees, you can use real ones. Or you can scoop up some faux ones (and faux ones these days look pretty legit!). We made this palm frond wall hanging that looks sort of like a mobile and beaded curtain had a baby. Here's how...

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