Oh Joy

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.}

all eyes on you! 27 Oct 2015

Silly Halloween Monster Eyes DIY

Silly Halloween Monster Eyes DIY

Ruby was recently telling me that she loves it when people decorate their houses for Halloween and asked why ours isn’t decorated like those houses. We don’t have an actual house (we live in the top floor of a duplex) or yard or really much of an area to decorate other than a door and a large bush. Even though we don’t have a full-on house, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t join in on the decorating fun! So, I told her that we would make some decorations and make our house fun, too!

So we've partnered with Target to share an easy and fun way to decorate for Halloween that can be used whether you have an apartment, duplex, or house! I'm always looking for ways to say "Halloween" that's different than the usual iconography (witches, ghosts, bats) you'd see elsewhere. So I love the idea of adding funny/silly/spooky eyes around your home to welcome trick-or-treaters this year. 

Here's how to make these "Eyes on You" decorations...


ruby's 4th birthday prep! 7 Oct 2015

A Fruity Dance Party

You guys, Ruby turns FOUR on Monday! This weekend we are celebrating her birthday with a small party with a handful of her four-year-old friends with a hip-hop/ballet party at her dance school. I usually share photos of our parties after they take place but I thought it would be a fun change to show you what I am setting up, too. So you can see how it all comes together afterwards.

Here are some of the things I've prepped for the party...

01. Decor - When you're having a party in a space that is not your home, I'm all about getting things that are easy to set-up on the fly. Often, you only have 30 minutes to get everything together so anything that pops-up and stands up easily is very helpful. I'll be using a bunch of these fruit poufs to decorate the little tables that the dance school os providing.

02. Outfits - Since it's a fruit theme, Ruby and Coco will be decked out in their fruity gear. Ruby's pairing her favorite strawberry tank with this crazy, amazing pom-pom skirt we got just for her birthday and some gold ballet flats for dancing. Although Coco can't quite dance yet, she'll be crawling around in her orange romper and moccasins.

03. Table - Paper plates are one of my favorite things ever because it makes clean-up so easy and they come in the best colors and patterns. I got a ton of fruity paper plates, cups, and trays. Her cake will be chocolate and fruit-filled and topped with this glittery cake topper.

04. Balloons - We won't have too many balloons, but just a giant watermelon to hang outside which I'm planning to combine with some hanging fruit poufs that I'll have leftover from the table decor.

05. Favors - For favors, we made fruity wands that the kids will get to dance and play with. And we're giving them a fun fruit tattoo and these cool kaleidoscope cameras.

I've personally requested a lot of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift songs, so there might be some mamas (aka me) dancing with the kiddos, too!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Joy Cho}

do something + give love letters... 6 Jan 2015


We created this Pop-Up Heart Valentine's Day card DIY for DoSomething.org and Mentor Up's Love Letters campaign which encourages teens to makes a card of love for senior citizens in their community. Even though Valentine's Day is still a month away, we love the idea of giving love any time of year to anyone who could use an extra smile.

Here's how to make one for a friend, loved one, or senior in your life...

Valentine's Day Pop-Up Card

1. Download our Heart Pop-Up template right here. You can use the template to trace over any other paper (patterned, solid colors, glittered, etc) or print it on paper of your choice.

Valentine's Day Pop-Up Card

2. Fold the printed template in half, then cut on the solid lines and fold on the dotted lines so that you're creating a full-sized heart when it's open. The inside piece (page 2 of the template) has the pop-up, and the outside piece (page 1 of the template) is a solid heart.

3. Make sure to pop out the inside's mini heart (see image above), then attach the inside and outside together with glue, double-sided tape, or any smooth adhesive. Then, decorate it however you like!

Valentine's Day Pop-Up Card

{Project by Oh Joy. Creative direction by Joy Cho, card design by Angie Stalker, card styling by Julia Wester, photos by Casey Brodley.}

paper fan himmeli DIY... 8 Dec 2014

Paper Fan Himmeli DIY by ThussFarrell for Oh Joy

I love mobiles because they feel like decorations you can keep up year-round. So today, Rebecca and Patrick from Thuss+Farrell are showing us how to keep that sparkle up beyond the holidays with this festive Paper Fan Himmeli using the Oh Joy for Target fans and paper straws!

A himmeli is a hanging mobile decoration traditionally made from straw. In Finland, they were made for Christmas decorations and also to be hung over the table at harvest to bring luck for the harvest of the following year. Supposedly, the more complicated the himmeli the more abundant the next year's harvest would be.

We've provided this PDF that you can download right here with all the materials and directions on how to make it. The Oh Joy fans have sold out online (still available in some stores), but you can also use this technique on any other store-bought decorative fans. Enjoy! 

P.S. Holiday Countdown GarlandPaper Lantern Mobile, and Striped Lanterns!

{Crafts, styling and photography by Thuss + Farrell for Oh Joy}  

3 Ways to Wrap Odd-Shaped Objects... 4 Dec 2014

3 Ways to Wrap Odd-Shaped Objects

Every year, I try and pick out unique gifts for friends and family whenever possible. But sometimes, those gifts don't come already packaged in a perfectly crisp, white box ready for wrapping. So rather then having to default to sticking those odd-shaped gifts into a not-so-cute gift bag, we wanted to come up with some other ways to give those beautiful objects this holiday.

3 Ways to Wrap Odd-Shaped Objects

1. A Piñata Present—for jewelry, craft supplies, wooden blocks, or decorative arrows—you can use a mailer tube as the base container for a gift that has multiple parts or pieces. You can give this gift sealed with a lid or kept open (as shown above) to show off a bit of the prize inside.

3 Ways to Wrap Odd-Shaped Objects

Here’s what you’ll need:
- crepe paper, streamers, or tissue paper
- a mailer tube
- faux gold leather ribbon
- Scotch® Double-Sided Tape
- Scotch®  Scissors

Here’s how:
1. Wrap the crepe paper or streamer around 3 of your fingers a few times.

2. Use scissors to cut slits halfway in on one side making sure to leave at least ½” uncut up top.

3. Use double sided tape to secure the top of the streamers (the part without the slits) to the bottom of the tube and wrap around a few times to add layers.

4. Repeat step three with a different color or pattern above the first layer so that you can see a bit of the previous layer below. Repeat until you leave 1 inch from the top of the mailer tube free.

5. To finish off the tube, use the piece of gold faux leather ribbon to wrap around the top of the tube and secure with double-sided tape.

3 Ways to Wrap Odd-Shaped Objects

2. A Jolly Pineapple—For a vase, mug, or other oblong object, we were inspired by Japanese Furoshiki to wrap the object with fabric—in this case, into a festive pineapple!


a paper napkin flower DIY... 6 Oct 2014

Paper Napkin Flower DIY by ThussFarrell for Oh Joy

Paper Napkin Flower DIY by ThussFarrell for Oh Joy

With the Oh Joy for Target collection, it's fun to turn some of the disposable pieces into other decorative accents for a party. Today, Rebecca and Patrick from Thuss+Farrell are here with this whimsical project using the Oh Joy for Target fall paper napkins turning them into fun paper flowers to use as placecard holders or gift toppers!

We've provided a handy PDF that you can download right here with all the materials and directions on how to make them. The Oh Joy napkins have sold out online (still available in some stores), but you can also use this technique on any other paper napkins. Enjoy! 

P.S. Paper Lantern MobileStriped Lanterns and Party People!

{Crafts, styling and photography by Thuss + Farrell for Oh Joy}  

paper lantern mobile DIY... 12 Sep 2014

Paper Lantern Mobile DIY / ThussFarrell for Oh Joy

When designing the Oh Joy for Target collection, we wanted to encourage using the pieces not only in parties but beyond the party as well. Because it just make every day a little more fun when it has a sense of whimsy to it. So today, Rebecca and Patrick from Thuss+Farrell are here with this simple and whimsical mobile using the Oh Joy for Target paper lanterns and plastic straws!

We've provided a handy PDF that you can download right here with all the materials and directions on how to make them. This would be super cute in the corner of a room. Enjoy!

P.S. Striped Lanterns and Party People!

{Crafts, styling and photography by Thuss + Farrell for Oh Joy}  

little prints... 16 Dec 2013





Having a toddler means trying to keep coming up with new and creative ways to play with them and entertain their often restless minds. Ruby has been crazy about stamps lately, so I'm loving this book, Yellow Owl's Little Prints, which includes book stamp, stencil, and print projects to make for kids and with kids. Plus, I kind of want to stamp everything now...

{Photos by Laure Joliet for Yellow Owl Workshop}

a happy note {giveaway}...NOW CLOSED 26 Nov 2013



As we approach Thanksgiving and thoughts of whom and what we're grateful for are even more apparent, we often tend to write a lot more notes and cards of appreciation this time of year. To encourage more thanks and random notes of kindness, I've partnered with one of my favorite stationery lines, Tokketok, to give away three sets of her happy note collection to three readers. Each set includes one each of these note pads and cards shown: Happy, Hello, Love, Thank You, and Birthday (a $84 value per set).




To enter, simply visit Tokketok's website and tell me who your next note of gratefulness will go to. Entries must be posted by next Monday, December 2nd, at 8 a.m. PST, and three winners will be chosen at random*

*Hooray! Open to readers anywhere in the world. Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $84 USD total value per set. Winners will be contacted by email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after. 


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